Malawi’s headline inflation rate for September 2017 has dropped by 0.9 percentage points to 8.4 percent buoyed by continued decline in prices of food, particularly maize, according to National Statistical Office (NSO) .
The inflation rate has dropped from 9.3 percent in August, which was the first time to hit a single digit in more than six years.
During the same period last year, inflation rate was at 21.2 percent, according to NSO, showing that prices of goods and services have increased at a much more reduced rate.
The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) had forecast that the rate of inflation will hit a single digit by December this year largely due to easing prices of food, which has a bigger weight at 50.2 percent in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), an aggregate basket used to compute inflation.
Currently, prices of maize are hovering at an average of K4 500 per 50 kilogramme (kg) bag.
Reads the NSO statement: “The urban and rural rates stand at 8.2 percent and 8.9 percent respectively. Overall, food inflation stands at 5.1 percent from 6.2 percent in August 2017 while non-food inflation stands at 11.6 percent from 12.2 percent in August 2017”.
In an interview yesterday, Catholic University dean of social sciences Gilbert Kachamba said the single digit inflation is not sustainable “as we know the drop in inflation rate is heavily due to a fall in maize price”.
But RBM Governor Dalisto Kabambe earlier argued that the central bank will use all tools at its disposal to ensure that the inflation rate trajectory is sustained. n