Zambia’s annual rate of inflation, as measured by Consumer Price Index (CPI), has increased by 0.4 percentage points from 6.9 per cent in November to 7.3 per cent in December 2012.
Central Statistical Office Acting Director Peter Mukuka said this means that on average, prices of commodities increased by 7.3 per cent between December 2011 and December 2012.
Speaking during the CSO monthly bulletin in Lusaka today, Mr. Mukuka attributed the increase in the annual inflation rate mainly to increases in prices of some food and non-food items.
He said of the total 7.3 per cent annual inflation rate recorded in December 2012, food accounted for 4.4 percentage points while non-food products accounted for a total of 2.9 percentage points.
He explained that a comparison of retail prices between November 2012 and December 2012 shows that the national average of prices of a 25 Kilogramme bag of breakfast mealie meal increased by 14.8 per cent from K49,375 to K56,675 while that of roller meal has increased by 18.0 from K36,128 to K42,962.
Mukuka disclosed that in provincial contribution to overall inflation, Copperbelt has the largest contribution of 2.0 percentage points followed by Lusaka at 1.8 per cent while North-western province had the lowest contribution of 0.1 percentage points.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected Zambia’s annual rate of inflation to close the year at a single digit of 6 per cent citing the growth in production of copper, non-maize agriculture and expansionary fiscal policy.
In international merchandize trade, Zambia has continued to record a trade surplus valued at K112.8 billion in November 2012 from K291.2 billion recorded in October the same year.
Mukuka said this means that the country exported more than it imported in the same month in nominal terms.
He added that the country’s major export destinations by commodity were Switzerland, which accounted for 43.1 percent, China was second at 20.6 per cent while South Africa was third with 8.8 per cent.
Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe were fourth and fifth accounting for 6.4 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively.