South Africa Inflation Rate Rose to 4.5%, Less Than Forecast

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South Africa’s inflation rate rose to 4.5 percent in April, less than economists had estimated.

Inflation accelerated from 4 percent in March, the Pretoria-based statistics office said on its website on Wednesday. The median estimate of 28 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was 4.6 percent. Prices increased 0.9 percent in the month.

The central bank will probably keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 5.75 percent on Thursday, according to all 26 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Policy makers have kept the rate on hold since July to help support an economy which grew at the slowest pace last year since a 2009 recession, even as price pressures increased.

Deputy Governor Daniel Mminele said on April 19 the deterioration in the inflation outlook has reduced the central bank’s flexibility to keep borrowing costs unchanged.

The rand fell 0.3 percent to 11.9433 against the dollar as of 10:22 a.m. in Johannesburg, taking its decline this year to 3.1 percent.

“The risks to the inflation outlook have increased,” Nazmeera Moola, an economist and strategist at Investec Asset Management in Cape Town, said in an e-mailed note on Tuesday. “The weaker rand has also weighed on prices, as does the prospect of higher electricity prices.”

The core inflation rate, which excludes food, non-alcoholic beverages, gasoline and electricity costs, rose to 5.6 percent in April from 5.7 percent in March.

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