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This year promises to be a fairly good one for South African consumers, particularly from a food cost perspective. The deceleration in food inflation that was observed in 2017 could again prevail in 2018 as large grain stocks and the expected good harvest in the current production season continue to underpin the market. In 2017, food inflation decelerated to 7% from 10.5% in 2016, thanks to a robust agricultural output. Indeed, the slowdown in price increases has continued into 2018, with food price inflation reaching a multiyear low of 3.5% year on year in March. The deceleration in 2018 could, however, be broader compared to 2017, when the price inflation of most food products slowed with the exception of meat. Meat price inflation was quite sticky, averaging 12.8% from 5.8% in 2016, which was characterised by higher slaughtering activity amid higher feed costs coupled with drier pastures.In that year, South African farmers slaughtered 3.6-million head of cattle, which is a 5% inc...

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