Malawi record Comesa’s highest fall in May inflation

Malawi recorded the highest fall in inflation in the month of May although now at 23.6 percent the rate remained the second highest in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) region with only Sudan being the worst at 37.4 percent, according to a Comesa report.

Comesa’s report on 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.

Dip in inflation
Dip in inflation

However, on a month to month basis in the region prices remained unchanged in May after increasing by one percent in April.

According to the HCPI, although Malawi registered the highest inflation fall, the country still maintained its position with the second highest year-on- year inflation rate in the region after Sudan while Zimbabwe recorded negative annual inflation with a rate of -0.1 percent in the month.

According to the 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.

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 the country’s liberalization process.

Ngwira 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.

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.

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