Consumption – prices in April: the CPI almost stable at 131 points

3 weeks, 4 days ago - May 10, 2023
Prices in April: the CPI almost stable at 131 pp
The Year-On-Year inflation rate, which was at 11.8% in January, fell to 8.3% in April 2023, from 11.0% in April 202. This is indicated by the latest Bulletin of Statistics Mauritius.

Headline Inflation for the twelve months ending April 2023 stood at 10.9% last month, compared to 11.1% in March, and 7.0% for the twelve months ending April 2022. Between 11% in March and 10.9% in April, this is a very slight drop, which does not represent any real change in the economic situation.

Nevertheless, the inflation rate remains high and continues to impact the purchasing power of consumers. Moreover, the Consumer Price Index is still up very sharply (131.0) compared to a year ago (121.0). In fact, the CPI has jumped in recent months, from 117.6 (in February 2022) to 128.5 last January, before reaching 130.5 points in February 2023.

A high rate of inflation impoverishes the population, if the loss of purchasing power is not compensated by an increase in wages/income and social assistance. The worst thing is that it is the poorest households who suffer from this high inflation.

And on supermarket shelves, prices continue to soar, especially for foodstuffs, clothing, shoes, housing, water, electricity, gas and fuels, as well as health services, transport, leisure and cultural activities, and restaurants, snacks and fast food.

Dr Takesh Luckho, economist and lecturer at the Open University, explains that “the trend noted in April is going in the right direction, but that does not mean that consumers are regaining their purchasing power. This downward trend must be maintained over time to see real effects on prices. "

He says that we are still waiting to see the fallout on supermarket shelves from lower freight rates, the cost of a barrel of oil and transport. “We are not yet feeling the effects of these declines locally. And importers and distributors still seem to be using the argument of old stocks, while prices should begin a downward trend. It is only for a few days that we have seen the price of milk drop from Rs 10.00 to Rs 15.00 and that of oil as well,” he said. Takesh Lucko stresses that it is also necessary to consider that the exchange rate of the American dollar and the euro are on the rise, which is positive for exporters, but not for consumers.

Regarding the evolution of gasoline and diesel prices on the local market, the economist said he was waiting for the decision of the Petroleum Pricing Committee, but also that of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Mauritius on the evolution of the Key Rate in the conjuncture.

Text by Le Mauricien

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