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South Africa's record maize crop of 16.41-million tons is likely to translate into some cheer for consumers, who are expected to benefit from lower food prices. This would be further good news for consumers after the South African Reserve Bank surprised markets in July with an interest rate cut of 25 basis points. Inflation slowed to 4.6% that month, falling below 5% for the first time since November 2015. Food inflation fell to 6.8% in July, from 11.7% in December last year. This rare good news has raised the question of whether the noose that has been so tight around consumers' necks may for the first time be loosening after nearly five years of subdued economic growth. Wandile Sihlobo, head of the agribusiness research unit at the Agricultural Business Chamber, said this week that the relief for consumers from the bumper maize harvest was welcome, but warned it could be short-lived. "It is unlikely to be broad. Meat prices will remain high and the benefits of the lower maize pric...

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