Consumer inflation rises moderately in April as prices of food staples increase

Uganda consumer prices rose moderately in April due to an increase in the prices of food staples, as measures implemented to check the spread of the coronavirus disrupted supply chains and drove up demand.

The headline inflation rate for the year ending April rose to 3.2% from 3% in the previous month, the highest in two months, according to data released by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics on Thursday. The biggest contribution to the gain was an increase in the prices of maize flour and rice.

The two staples are classified under core consumer goods, whose prices increased 3.4% year on year compared to the 2.5% 12-month rise registered in March.

Maize flour prices jumped up 37% year on year in April from 32.2% the previous month, while rice prices rose by 7.4% compared to 0.3% in the year ending March, Ubos said.

The rise in services prices, also classified under core consumer prices, however slowed to 1% from 1.2% the previous month. The bureau’s figures showed decreases in annual inflation for transport, health, and personal care, and a slight increase in recreation and culture prices, largely driven by a rise in inflation for books and stationary. Education prices, as well as those for communication, were flat.

Food crops and related items prices reduced by 2% year on year in April, down from 2.5% in March. This was on a decline in annual prices for fruits, particularly bananas, and vegetables.

Still, inflation for food items as a whole — including commodities classified as core consumer goods — advanced to 5.1% year on year versus the 4.3% recorded in March. Non-food prices grew at 2.5%, the same annual inflation rate recorded in the previous month. 

Energy prices in April increased by 8.3% year on year, up from 7.7% in March. Solid fuels inflation rose 26.6% from 25.8% the previous month, driven by a year on year rise in charcoal prices. Inflation for petrol however fell by 0.6% to 8.2%.