Rising fuel costs pushed producer inflation upwards in February, snapping a two-month streak of moderating pressure on prices. Farm and factory gate inflation, as measured by the annual change in the producer price index (PPI) climbed to 4.7% in February from January’s 4.1%. The consensus among economists, according to a poll by Trading Economics, was that producer inflation would rise to 4.6% year on year. Coke, petroleum and chemicals rose 6.3% year on year, contributing 1.3 percentage points to the headline figure, while the food segment of the index rose by an annualised 3.4%. Paper and printing products rose 7.7%.

Stats SA’s PPI report on Thursday came a week after it reported that inflation, as measured by the annual change in the consumer price index (CPI), ticked up slightly to 4.1% year on year in February. This was in line with expectations. January’s inflation reading was tempered by a R1.22/l drop in petrol and R1.54/l drop in diesel prices on the continued moderat...

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