Inflation inches up in February on telephone services and passport fees

Uganda’s annual consumer price inflation edged higher for the second straight month in February, primarily due to an increase in the prices of telephone and telefax services and passport fees over the past twelve months, the bureau of statistics said on Thursday.

The consumer prices index 12-month rate was 3.0% in February, up from 2.7% in January. Ubos said the rise was largely because of annual core inflation, which increased to 3.7% in February compared to the 3.4% registered the previous month.

Core inflation inched up mainly due to growth in communication inflation in the 12 months ending February, of 21.4% from the 5.5% recorded in January. Specifically, the prices of telephone and telefax services increased by 28.7% in the year to February 2019, up from 7.0% in the 12 months to January; telephone and telefax equipment prices also rose 1.2% versus 0.5% in January.

The closely watched core inflation rate also increased due to other services inflation, which “rose to 10.9% for the year ending February 2019 compared to 3.5% registered in January 2019,” according to Ubos. “Notably, passport fees rose to 49.1% for the year ending February 2019 compared to 0.0 percent registered in January 2019.”

However, the annual inflation rates of energy, fuels and utilities and food crops and related items eased in February. Energy, fuels and utilities prices grew 5.9% in February compared to a year earlier, down from 7.2% in January. This was mainly due to liquid energy fuels inflation whose 12-month rate declined from January’s 11.7% to 8.0%. Petrol inflation fell to 9.8% from 14.7%, while diesel inflation declined to 18.7% from the 25.0% recorded in the 12 months to January.

Food crops and related items inflation fell by 4.4% in the 12-month period ended January, up from a decline of 5.2% in the previous month. The largest upward effect was from annual fruits inflation which decreased by 3.8% versus a decline of 8.3% in January. However, vegetables inflation decelerated even further, falling 6.7% year-on-year from a decline of 6.0% in January.

The consumer prices index one-month rate increased slightly in February by 0.3% from 0.2% in January.