(Bloomberg) -- Zambia’s inflation rate fell to its lowest level this year as the lagged impact of the stronger currency helped ease price pressures.
Consumer prices rose 19.3% from a year earlier, compared with 21.1% in October, Zambia’s interim statistician-general, Mulenga Musepa, told reporters Thursday in Lusaka, the capital.
Food-price growth slowed to 25.4% in November, compared to 28.1% in the prior month, and non-food inflation decelerated to 12.2% from 13.2% in October. Costs rose 0.6% in the month.
The kwacha has been the second-best performing currency globally this year of those tracked by Bloomberg, gaining 19%. The stronger currency has helped drive down the costs of imports such as household appliances, vehicles, and certain food items like meat and fish.
A surprise 50 basis point interest rate hike on Wednesday by Zambia’s central bank may further accelerate the slowdown in inflation. The increase is aimed at steering inflation toward single digits by the end of next year and back within a 6%-8% target range by mid-2023, according to Governor Denny Kalyalya.
Inflation has been above the upper bound since May 2019 and is projected to average 22.6% this year, 15% in 2022 and 9.3% in the first three quarters of the following year, Kalyalya said.
While upside risks to the outlook include an increase in fuel pump and electricity prices to restore fiscal sustainability, and a new wave of Covid-19 infections that could disrupt supply chains, the central bank expects that a projected decline in corn prices after a bumper harvest and good rainfall during the next season could lower inflation in the short-term.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.