Statistics South Africa, a governmental organisation, reported on Wednesday a spike of 3.2% in the consumer price index (CPI), which was higher than June’s 2.2%.
The increase in CPI, a financial instrument used to measure inflation, was reportedly driven by a hike in fuel prices which came as the country was moved into level 2 of the national Covid-19 lockdown.
“Motorists felt some pain as the price of inland 95-octane petrol climbed from R13.40 per litre in June to R15.12 per litre in July. The average price for a litre of diesel jumped from R13.13 to R14.62,” Stats SA said in a statement on Wednesday.
According to Stats SA, despite this increase, fuel prices are still 6.2% cheaper this year than they were in July 2019, when the price of 95-octane fuel was R15.81 per litre.
Consumers also took another financial knock during the Covid-19 pandemic as the prices of funeral ceremonies rose exponentially due to the strict yet compulsory sanitisation protocols.
Stats SA confirmed this on Wednesday, saying: “Funeral expenses increased sharply in July, rising by 8.7% year-on-year.”
This is far higher than the 1.1% annual rise recorded in April (funeral-related prices are recorded once a quarter). Prices for gravestones increased by 3.2% in July, higher than April’s 0.3%.
Furthermore, the prices of brown and white bread increased on a monthly basis by 2.3% and 2%, respectively, between June and July 2020.
To ease some of the economic hardship felt by consumers, Stats SA reported a decrease in the overall prices of municipal tariffs when compared with July 2019.
Electricity tariffs increased by 6.3%, lower than July 2019’s rise of 10.5%.
Water tariffs increased by 9.9% from a previous 10.3% and municipal rates increased by 3.5% from a previous 6.3%.