Tanzania's inflation up on weakening shilling, rising food prices

Depreciating local currency and rising food prices pushed up the annual headline inflation rate in May to 5.3 per cent, up from the previous month's 4.5 per cent.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the overall index went up to 157.86 in May, 2015 from 149.89 recorded in May, 2014.

The bureau attributed the inflation rise to high food prices, citing some of the food items that had their prices soaring as cassava flour by 12.3 per cent, meat by six per cent, fish by 11.7per cent, cowpea by 13.9 per cent and beans by 4.2 per cent, while restaurant food prices soared by 4.1 per cent.

Addressing reporters, NBS Director of Population Census and Social Statistics Ephraim Kwesigabo said on the other hand that some of the non-food items that contributed to the increase of inflation in May include ladies wear by 3.5per cent, gents wear by 5.6per cent  and accommodation services by 4.2per cent.

He said food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation rate for the month of May, this year, has increased to 8.5per cent from 7.1 recorded in April, this year.

“The increase of the Annual Headline Inflation rate for the year ending May, 2015 explains that, the speed of the price increase for commodities in the year ending May 2015 has slightly increased as compared to the speed of price increase recorded for the year ended April, this year,” he said.

He added that the annual inflation rate, which excludes food and non-energy items for the month of May, this year, has stagnated at 2.1per cent as it was recorded in April, this year.

“Annual inflation rate for food consumed at home and away from home has increased to 8.4per cent in May, 2015 from 7.2per cent recorded in April, 2015; however, the 12 month index change for non-food products has slightly increased to 1. in May, 2015 from 1.0pc recorded in April, 2015,” he said.

He added that the annual headline inflation rates over the same period have shown a fairly stable trend from 6.5per cent in May, 2014 to 5.3per cent in May 2015.

He went on to explain that the purchasing power of the 100 shillings has decreased to 63/35 cents in May, 2015 from September, 2010.

On the other side, Mr Kwesigabo said the monthly headline inflation rate has increased by 0.4per cent compared to an increase of 0.8 per cent recorded in April 2015.

“Some food items that contributed to such increase include; maize grains by 3.3pc, maize flour by 4per cent, fresh fish by 2.1per cent, cooking banana by 9.4per cent, vegetables by 2.1per cent, round potatoes by 3.8per cent, beans by 3.3per cent and cassava by 5.2per cent.

“Some of non-food items, which have mainly contributed to such increase include; diesel by 3.2per cent and petrol by 5.8per cent,” he said.

Mr Kwesigabo also cited similar inflation increases in the neighbouring country of Uganda whereby inflation has increased to 4.90per cent in May, 2015 from 3.6per cent in March, 2015 while in Kenya; inflation rate has slightly decreased to 6.87per cent in May, 2015 from 7.08 per cent recorded in April, 2015.
Source: Daily News, reported by Lawrence Raphaely, from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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