Inflation remained level at 4.9% in September, aided by energy minister Jeff Radebe’s intervention that month to delay sharp fuel price increases until October. StatsSA reported on Wednesday that September’s consumer price index (CPI) came to 108.9 points, up from 103.8 in September 2017 and 108.4 in August. Inflation, as measured by the annual change in CPI, is the key measure used by the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee to set interest rates. The committee is scheduled to announce its next interest rate decision on November 22.

Inflation remaining at August’s 4.9% matched the consensus of a poll of economists done by Trading Economics. October’s inflation figure is likely to show a sharp acceleration due to the R1/l increase in Gauteng’s 95 octane petrol price and R1.24/l increase in the wholesale price of diesel taking effect. StatsSA reported the food component of CPI showed inflation of 3.9%. Average fruit prices fell by 4.9% in September from the same month in 20...

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