Malawi inflation figures for January on hold: National Statistical Office delays data release

Inflation statistical figures for the month of January have delayed, the National Statistical Office (NSO) has confirmed.

NSO has since attributed the delay to the rebasing of its Consumer Price Index (CPI).

“NSO releases inflation figures on the 15th of every month. This month, the delay is due to the rebasing exercise that we have been doing,” assistant Commissioner for Economics, Lizzie Chikoti explained.

Traditionally, NSO releases inflation figures on the 15th day of the following month.

The last recorded inflation figures were of December 2017 which were at 7.1 percent.

The delay in the release of inflation figures come at a time pressure has been mounting on food prices, resulting in a 70 percent jump in early February.

Rebasing of CPI will see NSO changing the base year for calculating inflation from 2012 to 2017.

The process could also see authorities changing the weighting of various items in the CPI to reflect consumers’ spending patterns.

Food is the major contributor to the CPI with a weighting of 50.2 percent, followed by housing and water at 14.7 percent.

Transport has a weighting of 6.6 percent, communication 5.8 percent, clothing and footwear 3.2 percent, miscellaneous 3 percent, alcoholic beverages 2.5 percent, recreation and culture 2.2 percent and health at 1.4 percent.

Analysts have predicted that inflation could surge in the coming months due to the double impact of dry spell and the fall armyworm, which have affected many districts in the country, significantly lowering maize output.

But presenting the mid-year budget statement presented to Parliament on Friday, Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe said there is no food shortage in Malawi, adding that the calamitous effects of dry spells and the fall armyworm the country is experiencing could impact on the country much later.

And the International Monetary Fund last week predicted that Malawi’s inflation would average 11 percent this year.

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