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Zambia’s Consumer Price Index fall by 5 per cent – JCTR

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The Jesuit Center for Theological Reflection (JCTR)’s Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket (BNNB) which measures the Consumer Price Index (CPI) i.e. cost of living for a household; a family of 5 needed K7, 015.90 for the month of February 2020, registering a 5.33 percent fall from K7, 410.96 needed in January 2020.
A CPI measures changes in the price level of a weighted average market basket of consumer goods and services purchased by households.
The CPI is a statistical estimate constructed using the prices of a sample of representative items whose prices are collected periodically.
The JCTR states that the consumer basket between January and February 2020 reduced by K395.06, but, when compared against same period in 2019, the basket stood at K5, 331.12, which is an increase year on year of about 32%.
According to JCTR the drop in the February 2020 food basket was mainly attributed to a reduction in the prices of food items such as fresh fruit vegetables which reduced from K669.77 in January to K391.00 in February for a monthly requirement of 40kg.
Other fruits also reduced from K439.93 to K369.04, kapenta reduced from K299.07 to K202.73, onion moved from K150.88 to K58.19 and tomatoes prices reduced from K118.58 to K60.92 respectively.
JCTR communications officer Enock Ngoma told a local business publication on March 6, 2020 that the price reduction in the noted food items is attributed to the favourable rainfalls that the country has experienced in the past months. He said this led to an increase in the production of fruits and vegetables making them readily available and affordable.
“The reduction in the price of kapenta can be attributed to the lift of the fish ban on Lake Kariba and Lake Tanganyika,” he said, adding that in February 2019, kapenta again recorded a K45.33 price decline.
The organisation noted that in the February 2020 consumer food basket, a few items, however, recorded price increases. “The price of soya pieces increased to K128.85 in February from

K83.50 in January 2020. The price of eggs also moved up from K83.11 to K95.14 for the same time period,” he added.
However, JCTR warned that the reduction in the cost of living though positive, may not be sustained as this may be because of the fact that the food items such as vegetables contributing to this reduction are greatly affected by seasonality and the amount of rainfall that the country records.
The center has since emphasised the need for Government to increase resource allocation and commitment to a more sustainable climate resilient agriculture sector adding that this will significantly contribute to more consistent supply of some foods and help keep prices low.
However, on a microeconomic spectrum, the annual inflation rate in Zambia climbed to 13.9 percent in February of 2020 from 12.5 percent in the previous month.
According to Trade Economics, the inflation rate has been above 10%, a level not seen since October 2016, in the last 6 months as prices advanced further for food (15.9 percent vs 15.4 percent in January), mainly on account of rising prices of maize grain and meats.
In addition, non-food, Trade Economics notes that inflation also quickened (11.6 percent vs 9.4 percent), mainly attributed to rental fees, cement, purchase of vehicles and transport services. On a monthly basis, consumer prices inched up 1.9 percent, after increasing 1.8 percent in the previous month.

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31