Consumer inflation data will be the prime focus of local markets this week, with economists warning that the consumer price index (CPI) is likely to experience its highest growth rate in almost a year as a result of the weak rand exchange rate and elevated oil price. The CPI for July will be released by Stats SA on Wednesday. It will likely rise to 5% or slightly higher, from 4.6% year on year in June, mostly due to municipal tariff increases and base effects involving food and fuel. This time in 2017, SA enjoyed fuel price cuts. In July 2018, fuel prices climbed almost 2% compared to the previous month. Food and fuel prices aside, core inflation is expected to remain well behaved given that the weak growth environment limits the ability of producers to pass their rising input costs on to consumers. BNP Paribas economist Jeff Schultz expects core inflation to have inched up from 4.2% year on year in June to 4.3% year on year in July. "With underlying price growth still below the mid...

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