Malawi inflation down by 0.6%:JB expects to average 7.4 % in 2014

The National Statistical Office (NSO) says the year on year headline inflation for the month of April 2013 eased to 35.8 percent, representing a minimal 0.6 percentage points down on the month of March.

The NSO said urban and rural rates stand at 42 percent and 31.2 percent respectively.

“Core inflation which excludes food costs, rose by 0.7 percentage points to 38.6 percent on the month before owing mainly to upward price adjustments of alcoholic drinks and Tobacco,” NSO said in a statement seen by Nyasa Times.

The release is coming days after another survey by the Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) indicated that there was stabilization in cost of living for a family of six in the same month of April in Malawi’s cities.

The Basic Needs Basket survey by CfSC contains prices reviews of basic food and non food items such as rent, school fees utility bills, soap, maize cooking and charcoal among others.

Signs of good times: Dip in inflation
Signs of good times: Dip in inflation

CfSC’s Social Conditions Officer Alex Nkosi said average cost of living in Malawi’s four cities slightly dropped by 0.83 percent to K95,707.50 in the month under review from K96,510.75 in March.

“The dropping of cost of living in Mzuzu, Zomba, Lilongwe and Blantyre was due to wide availability of food in the country as the survey was conducted during the maize harvesting,” said Nkosi.

The report says there was a 2 percent in average cost of living for April in Lilongwe at K103,261 and Blantyre K102,562. on the contray the figures for Mzuzu K89,091 and Zomba’s K88,016, went up by about 1 percent.

President Joyce Banda told parliament last Friday that Malawi should expect a sharp deceleration in inflation in 2014 to an average of 7.4percent backed by tight monetary policy implementation.

“My administration will therefore continue to pursue with vigour to bring down inflation and achieve a continued appreciation of the local currency to sustainable level,”  Banda told lawmakers when she opened parliament’s budget session in the capital Lilongwe.

The last few weeks have seen the kwacha stabilise against major currencies and fuel prices drop where long queues for expensive diesel and petrol at service stations were once commonplace.

Malawi’s economy was on a brink of collapse after  Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in office of a heart attack, picked a disastrous fight with donors whose support accounted for almost 40 percent of the budget.

Banda has wooed back foreign donors and worked with the International Monetary Fund on a new financial support programme. Her government has also removed fuel subsidies and cut the kwacha’s peg to the dollar, which resulted in a 50 devaluation for the local currency.

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