The recent Consumer Price Index report for the month of November 2019, indicated that food and non-alcoholic beverage sales declined by 5.45% from 9.07% in October 2019. The report captured detailed explanation of the Consumer Price Index, as well as factors influencing the changes in the monthly rate of inflation.
Key findings in the report include:
✓ Alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics beverage sales declined by 3.83 percentage points from -0.29 percent in October, 2019 to -4.12 percent in November 2019.
✓ Sales of clothing and footwear increased by 0.16 percentage points from -0.35 percent in October 2019 to -0.19 percent in November 2019.
✓ Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels increased 1.57 percent in October 2019 to 1.89 percent in November, 2019. The inflation rate increased by 0.32 percentage points year-on-year.
✓ Furniture, household equipment and household maintenance declined by 4.45 percentage points from 0.50 percent in October 2019 to -3.95 percent in November 2019.
✓ Health spending increased from 0.37 percent in October 2019 to 3.05 percent in November 2019. The inflation rate increased by 2.68 percentage points year-on-year.
✓ Transport costs declined by 0.24 percentage points from 0.04 percent in October 2019 to -0.20 percent in November 2019.
✓ For communications, no change is noticed between October 2019 and November 2019.
✓ Recreation and culture expenses increased from -0.17 percent in October 2019 to 2.36 percent in November 2019. The inflation rate increased by 2.53 percentage points year-on-year.
✓ Education costs largely increased from 0.00 percent in October 2019 to 68.67 percent in November 2019. The inflation rate increased by 68.67 percentage points year-on-year.
✓ Restaurants and hotels declined by 2.24 percentage points from -0.39 percent in October 2019 to -2.63 percent in November 2019.
✓ Miscellaneous goods and services declined by 1.96 percentage points from 0.24 percent.
The national monthly CPI increased from 279.49 in October 2019 to 280.04 in November 2019 resulting to 0.20 percent inflation this month. The report indicated that monthly rate of inflation for Southern region increased to 0.17 percent in November when compared to October and Western area increased by 2.87 percent. Meanwhile, the Eastern region declined by 2.84 comprising Kenema – 2.70 percent and Kono – 2.98 percent and Northern region declined by 2.59.
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Director of National Account, and Economic Statistics Division, Statistics Sierra Leone, Mwaluma Andrew Bryma Gegbe, said the Consumer Price Index is the average price level of all the goods and services we consume in the country. He disclosed that the CPI targets selected good which are referred to as the basket of the country. “Our basket in Sierra Leone is made up of over 400 goods,” he said. He said Statistics collects prices weekly and sometimes monthly. The prices are averaged and computed to be able to ascertain what on average the price level would be. “The change in the average price commodity is what we referred to as inflation,” he added. He said the CPI is aimed at measuring the inflation (the change in the consumer price index) rate of the country. He furthered that the CPI indicates whether prices are decreasing or increasing, for if prices are increasing, it affects the consumption pattern of the consumer, and the household. Equally, it affects producers, because it affects the cost of production, and if it affects cost of production, consumers tends to shift from one product to another, and this will in turn affect producers in terms of sales. “It also affects government, for which is why government decided that there is an assessment of the CPI because change in price affects all and sundry,” he said. The national year-on-year inflation for November 2019 is 13.09 percent, which indicates a downward trend compared to 15.85 percent in October 2019. All the regions show downward movements, the Eastern region from 23.51 percent in October 2019. The monthly price inflation of 0.20 percent reflects a general change in the price level in all the four regions, which affected all of the items in the CPI basket. The following monthly indices increased: clothing and footwear to 0.19 percent; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels to 1.89 percent; health to 3.05 percent; recreation and culture to 2.36 and education to 68.67 percent. The National CPI measures the change in prices, on average, from month to month, of the goods and services bought by households, in Freetown, Bo, Kenema, Kono and Makeni and include all expenditure groups. Prices are collected for at least 400 items. All prices collected are the prevailing retail market prices from six markets in Freetown and, three markets each in Bo, Kenema, Makeni and Kono for weekly prices and other outlets for monthly items whose prices are less likely to fluctuate rapidly.
By Sulaiman Karim Sesay
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