JOHANNESBURG, Sep. 22 (Xinhua) -- South Africa's Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) increased to 4.9 percent year-on-year in August from 4.6 percent in July, said Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Wednesday.
It is slightly above market expectations of 4.8 percent and the 4.5 percent midpoint of the South African Reserve Bank's monetary policy target range of 3-6 percent.
Statistician General Risenga Maluleke said that housing, food and non-alcoholic beverages, and transport were the major contributing factors to the increase.
"Food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 6.9 percent year-on-year, and contributed 1.2 percentage points to the total CPI annual rate of 4.9 percent," he said.
Housing and utilities rose by 3.8 percent year on year, while transport increased by 9.9 percent year on year. Stats SA said petrol prices recorded all-time highs in August, with the price of inland 95-octane petrol reaching 18.3 rand per litre (1.23 U.S. dollars).
It's not clear if this increase would influence the Monetary Policy Committee that would announce its decision on the repo rate on Thursday.
In July, the repo rate was left unchanged at 3.5 percent. Many economists said they expected the Reserve Bank to keep it on hold.
"If the trend of the rising CPI continues, then the repo rate will increase. But for now, it might not change," Jannie Rossouw, head of School of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, told Xinhua.