Mixed expectations on latest consumer inflation figures

STATISTICS South Africa releases November inflation figures today and some economists expect the consumer price index, targeted by the Reserve Bank for monetary policy, to have remained unchanged at 5,9percent.

STATISTICS South Africa releases November inflation figures today and some economists expect the consumer price index, targeted by the Reserve Bank for monetary policy, to have remained unchanged at 5,9percent.

Others, however, expect the CPI to have risen to 6percent.

Forecasts among 11 economists who took part in a survey by I-Net Bridge ranged from 5,6percent to 6,2percent.

An economist at the upper end of the range said higher food prices should be the chief contributor to a higher month-on-month increase.

The balance of the increase will be constituted by mild contributions from a seasonal pricing in recreation and culture, miscellaneous services and health.

The median forecast from a Reuters poll of 16 economists showed CPI probably quickened slightly to 6,0percent percent in the year to November.

The base effects from food and fuel prices, which peaked around August last year when inflation soared to nearly 14percent were now in reverse mode, said Absa Capital macro strategist Jeffrey Schultz.

"As those base effects begin to reverse more aggressively as we approach the end of the year, we're likely to see the year-on-year inflation rate start to pick up," he said, adding the trend should continue into the first quarter of 2010. - Reuters and I-Net Bridge

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