By MAIMBOLWA MULIKELELA –
ZAMBIA’s year end inflation rate increased to 7.1 per cent from seven per cent recorded in November 2013, while the country has posted its first trade deficit of K327 million since 2009.
Last year, the country’s year-end inflation was at 7.3 per cent or 0.2 per cent higher that this year’s.
Central Statistical Office (CSO) director John Kalumbi said the annual rate of inflation, as measured by the all-items Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December 2013 was recorded at 7.1 per cent compared to seven per cent the previous month.
This means that on average, prices increased by 7.1 per cent between December 2012 and December 2013.
Addressing journalists in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Kalumbi said an increase in the annual rate of inflation was mainly attributed to the rise in some food items.
He said the overall index went up to 135.08 in December, 2013 from 126.08 in December 2012.
Of the 7.1 per cent annual inflation rate recorded in December 2013, food and non alcoholic beverage products accounted for 3.2 percentage points, while non-food products accounted for a total of 3.9 percentage points,” he said.
Mr Kalumbi said Lusaka Province had the highest provincial contribution of 2.2 percentage points to the overall annual inflation rate of 7.1 per cent posted this month.
He said Copperbelt Province had the second highest provincial contribution of 1.2 percentage points while, Luapula recorded the lowest contribution of 0.3 percentage points.
A comparison of retail prices between November and December 2013 shows that, the national average price of a 25 kilogramme bag of breakfast mealie meal increased by 5.6 per cent from K64.36 to K68.06.
“The national average price of a 25 kg bag of roller mealie meal went up by 6.9 per cent from K48.74 to K52.11 while the maize grain increased by 7.4 per cent from K28.13 to K30.21,” he said.
Commenting on the international merchandise, Mr Kalumbi said Zambia recorded a trade deficit valued at K327 million in November 2013 from a trade surplus of K43 million the previous month.
This means that the country imported more in November 2013 than it exported in nominal terms.
Mr Kalumbi said it was important to point out that since January 2013, the country has recorded the first trade deficit.
Zambia registered its last trade deficit of K275 million in May 2009.
He said Zambia’s major exports products in November 2013 were from the intermediate goods category comprising copper cathodes and sections of refined copper accounting for 83.3 per cent.
Other exports were from the consumer goods, raw materials and capital goods categories which collectively accounted for 16.7 per cent of the total exports in November 2013.
This implies that between November and October 2013, the country has been an exporter of intermediate goods, mainly metals and their articles, accounting for an average of 84.8 per cent of the total exports.