With the surge in fuel prices already having caused producer prices to accelerate at the fastest pace since 2016, preliminary Central Energy Fund (CEF) figures signal more pain ahead for motorists, and a potential interest rate increase. Factory and farm gate inflation, as measured by the annual change in the producer price index, reached an annual 6.3% in August, from 6.1% the month before, data from Stats SA showed. It was the fastest pace increase since December 2016. This comes as South Africans have been hard hit by five consecutive months’ fuel price hikes after Brent crude rose about 20% in 2018, with local prices being pushed up further by a 14% depreciation in the rand against the dollar. "Producer inflation is forecast to remain elevated over the medium term due to higher fuel prices as well as [a] depreciation in the value of the rand," Nedbank economist Busisiwe Radebe said.

While the government intervened by limiting increases in September, the first such move sin...

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