Malawi recorded the highest fall in inflation in May although the rate remained one of the highest in the region, according to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa).
The Comesa Harmonised Consumer Price Index (HCPI), a regional measure of inflation released last month indicates that Malawi recorded the highest month on month fall of 3.7 percent to 23.6 percent.
According to the report which is prepared every month, out of the participating members, Kenya recorded the highest month on month inflation rate of 2.7 percent followed by Sudan with a rate of 2.2 percent.
However, on a month to month basis in the region prices remained unchanged in May after increasing by one percent in April.
Although Malawi registered the highest fall inflation, the country still maintained its position with the second highest year on year inflation rate in the region after Sudan’s 37.4 percent while Zimbabwe recorded negative annual inflation with a rate of -0.1 percent in the month.
Earlier while commenting on the regional figures, Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) spokesperson Mbane Ngwira said the relatively high Malawi inflation rates is due to different stages in liberalisation.
He pointed out that with time Malawi will also enjoy lower inflation rates and that the trend so far indicates that the country is doing very well and will be at par with the other members.
According to the May HCPI report, transport registered the highest annual inflation rate at 28.5 percent, followed by recreation and culture at 25.7 percent.
Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels recorded the least annual percentage change of 4.8 percent.
However, after falling by 1.3 percentage points in May, inflation fell by only 0.1 percentage point to 22.5 percent in June according to the National Statistical Office (NSO), a situation that analysts have pointed out may indicate that the rate is about to turn the corner.
Recently, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) which is chaired by the RBM noted that the deceleration in inflation could have been faster had the automatic pricing mechanism for fuel (APM) been implemented consistently. The committee noted that based on this trend inflation is expected at 20.5 percent in December 2014.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission which met President Peter Mutharika, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe, and Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Governor Charles Chuka noted that inflation has been declining gradually in recent months, but remains high at 22.6 percent in May.