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Zambia’s inflation rate climbs 9.9%, as trade surplus witnesses comparative decline


Zambia’s annual inflation rate has climbed to 9.9 percent in March due to a rise in prices of selected non-food items, even as the country records K2.8 billion reduced trade surplus.

The annual inflation for March 2023, increased to 9.9 percent from 9.6 percent recorded in February 2023, Zambia Statistical Agency (ZamStats) interim statistician General, Mulenga Musepa, said.

Read more: Inflation rate rises to 9.6%, as Zambia records K6.1bn trade surplus

This means that on average, prices of goods and services increased by 9.9 percent between March 2022 and March 2023.

Addressing journalists in Lusaka on Thursday, Musepa indicated that annual food inflation for March 2023 increased to 11.8 percent from 11.6 percent the previous month.

He said this development was mainly attributed to prices of mealie-meal, maize grain, local rice, meat, vegetables, cooking oil and eggs.

Musepa said annual non-food inflation for March increased to 7.3 percent from 6.9 percent in February 2023.

This development was mainly attributed to increases in prices of non-food items such as passenger transport by road and air and purchase of motor vehicles (Toyota Hilux,Nissan Almera and Nissan Pickup).

He said that of the overall 9.9 percent annual inflation, food and non-alcoholic beverages group contributed 6.7 percentage points, while non-food items accounted for 3.2 percentage points.

“Of the 3.0 percentage points housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel contributed the highest at 0.9 percentage points, followed by transport, clothing and footwear at 0.6 and 0.5 percentage points each,” Musepa said.

He added that the rest of the non-food group accounted for the remaining 1.2 percentage points.

Musepa indicated that Lusaka province contributed the highest at 3.2 percentage points to the overall annual inflation of 9.9 percent in March 2023.

Copperbelt province was second, contributing 2.1 percentage points to the overall inflation of 9.9 percent in the month under review.

He pointed out that Eastern and Southern Province contributed 0.9 percentage points each, while North-Western province had the lowest contributions of 0.3 percentage points.

On trade, Musepa indicated that cumulative total trade for the period January to February 2023 was K69.3 billion, while that of 2022 for the same period was K55.7 billion, representing a 24.3 percent increase.

“The total value of exports via all modes of transport for the period January to February 2023 was K39.1 billion. Road transport accounted for the highest at K22.7 billion representing 58.2 percent share.

“Air transport was second at K0.85 billion and rail transport was third accounting for K0.77 billion. Other modes of transport accounted for K14.7billion,” he said.

Musepa said total value of imports via all modes of transport for January to February 2023 was K30.2 billion.

In terms of volumes, he said a total of 1,081.2 million tonnes of imports was recorded for the period January to February 2023, of which road transport accounted for 692.5 thousand tonnes, representing the highest share at 64.0 percent.

Musepa said railway transport accounted for 47.8 thousand tonnes, representing the share of 4.4 percent in the period under review.

He said Zambia recorded a trade surplus of K2.8 billion in February 2023 compared to a surplus of K6.1 billion in January 2023.

Musepa said exports mainly comprising domestically produced goods, decreased by 13.8 percent to K18.1 billion in February 2023 from K21.0 billion in January 2023.

This was mainly on account of 10.7, 33.0, 22.5 and 47.4 percent decrease in export earnings from intermediate goods, raw materials, consumer goods and capital goods respectively.

Imports increased by 2.7 percent to K15.3 billion in February 2023 from K14.9 billion in January 2023.

He said this was mainly as a result of 33.2, 4.0 and 5.3 percent increase in import bills of capital goods, consumer goods and raw materials respectively.

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