Uganda’s consumer prices were unchanged in March after increasing in each of the first two months of the year, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics said.
The annual inflation rate was 3.0%, the same increase as in February. But in a trend that will not go unnoticed at the Bank of Uganda, the rise in March’s inflation was largely due to core inflation, just like in February. Core inflation increased 4.6% in the 12 months to March, up from 3.7% in the previous month.
However, growth in the core measure of inflation — which excludes the more volatile food and energy prices, and is therefore closely watched by the central bank — was faster in March compared to February; 0.9% versus 0.3%.
Additionally, at 4.6% it is edging closer to the Bank of Uganda medium-term target of 5.0%.
The rise in core inflation was driven by higher prices for the ‘Other Goods’ category, according to the statistics bureau. Clothing and footwear prices increased by 5.5% in the year to March up from 4.5% the previous month, while prices for alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics rose 2.4% versus 1.1% in February.
Service inflation declined, on the other hand, mainly because of a reduction in education prices.
Ubos said the prices of food crops and related items fell 9.9% in March compared to a year earlier, down from a decline of 4.4% registered in February. This was due to a fall in fruits inflation. The prices of vegetables recorded a rise in the month, on the other hand.
Energy, fuels, and utilities inflation rose 5.3% in the 12 months to March, down from 5.9% in February. Petrol prices increased by 6.0% in the year ending March, slower than February’s 9.8%. Also, diesel inflation slowed to 14.5% from 18.7% in February.
The one-month growth rate for consumer prices in March was 0.5%, Ubos said, up from 0.3% in February. Core inflation rose 1.0% from 0.0% in February, even as fuel and utilities prices and the prices of food crops and related items declined.