Rwanda’s inflation rate eases to 7.7% in March

Rwanda’s consumer price index (CPI), which the country uses to gauge inflation, eased to 7.7 per cent in March year-on-year, down from 8.1 per cent registered in February. According to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) CPI report for March, this is however higher than 4.6 per cent registered during the same period in 2016.

NISR attributed this to rising prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages which increased by 16.0 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively. Prices of housing water, electricity, gas and other fuels rose by 2.5 per cent, while cost of transport inched up 8.9 per cent.

On a monthly basis, the inflation rate dropped to 0.6 per cent in March compared to 3.4 registered same period 2016.

Meanwhile, the country’s underlying inflation rate (excluding fresh food and energy) was recorded at 5.4 per cent. Overall, inflation was up by 13.0 percent on an annual basis, and increased by 1.2 per cent on a monthly basis. Prices for local goods went up by 7.3 per cent, while imported commodities rose 9.1 per cent and those of fresh products increased by 17.3 percent during the period under review. The National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) recently attributed the rising inflationary pressures to rising food prices due to bad weather conditions and transport inflation.

These pressures, according to John Rwangombwa, the central bank governor, are expected to persist until June during the harvest season. The inflation rate is expected to average about 7 per cent at the end of the year.

It is also important to note that inflationary pressures have been experienced across the region and have also been attributed to poor performance in the agriculture sector and increase in crude oil prices.