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Inflation round-up: CPI hits single figures in Malawi

ECA International

For the first time in six years, Malawi has recorded official annual inflation below 10%. Ever since a series of currency devaluations began in August 2011, the country's cost of living has soared, with the year-on-year change to the consumer price index reaching a peak of 41.8% in April 2013 before slowly declining to 9.3% by end-July 2017.

Unfortunately, with the country suffering from drought, and food prices having by far the biggest weighting in official inflation calculations, it may not be long before we see Malawi appear on our high-inflation table again.

However, for foreign expatriates working in Malawi, who tend to spend a lower proportion of their income on food than local nationals do, price rises there are likely to be somewhat less of a concern. International staff are also likely to be able to benefit from further weakening of the kwacha, by obtaining more of the local currency in exchange for their dollars, euros, yen, yuan or pounds.

As always, ECA's cost of living indices will give you the information you need to adjust your expatriate salaries to accurately reflect changes in prices and exchange rates. The September 2017 Cost of Living Survey will be published in November.

High-inflation countries (CPI 10%+)
Country CPI % Last reported Trend IMF 2017 forecast
Angola 27.0 Aug-17 ▼ Falling 27.0
Argentina 23.1 Aug-17 ► Stable 25.6
Azerbaijan 14.6 Jul-17 ► Stable 10.0
Burundi 19.0 Aug-17 ► Stable 12.4
DR Congo 68.3 Jul-17 ▲ Rising 15.0
Egypt 31.9 Aug-17 ► Stable 22.0
Ghana 12.3 Aug-17 ▼ Falling 12.0
Haiti 15.8 Jun-17 ▲ Rising 13.1
Liberia 13.2 May-17 ► Stable 11.0
Libya 30.5 Jun-17 ▲ Rising 32.8
Mozambique 14.1 Aug-17 ▼ Falling 19.0
Myanmar 11.2 Jun-16 ▲ Rising 6.9
Nigeria 16.1 Aug-17 ► Stable 17.4
Sierra Leone 19.1 Jun-17 ► Stable 14.7
South Sudan 154.6 Jul-17 ▼ Falling 143.0
Sudan 34.6 Jun-17 ► Stable 23.2
Surinam 19.8 Jul-17 ▼ Falling 32.1
Syria 51.1 Aug-16 ▲ Rising n/a
Turkey 10.7 Aug-17 ► Stable 10.1
Ukraine 15.9 Jul-17 ▲ Rising 11.5
Venezuela 274.0 Dec-16 ▲ Rising 720.5

In other news, the cost of living is reported to have leapt even higher in Venezuela. The government stopped publishing official data many months ago as the economic crisis worsened, but independent estimates of annual inflation range from 460% (Bloomberg) to 720% (IMF). The now-defunct opposition-led National Assembly recently recorded monthly food-price inflation above 50%, putting it into hyperinflation territory.

Here is this month's 'Global inflation indicators' table, showing that the upturn in the worldwide inflationary trend continues.

Global inflation indicators
Indicator Latest Recorded One year ago Y-o-y change
Average global CPI inflation* 4.88% 25/09/17 4.02% ~
Oil price (Brent Crude) USD 57/brl 25/09/17 USD 47 +21%
All-commodities index (IMF)
(2005 = 100)
106.8 01/07/17 105.5 +1%
Food price index (UN-FAO)
(2002-04 = 100)
176.6 01/09/17 166.6 +6%
*Based on 184 ECA Cost of Living countries; no account taken of relative weightings. South Sudan and Venezuela have been excluded due to very high inflation levels.

Finally, India has joined our watch-list this period, after official annual inflation jumped from only 1.5% in June to 6.9% in August, due to the introduction of a nationwide sales tax (GST) on 1 July.

On watch! (notable rise in inflation, but below 10%)
Country Latest CPI Data month Up from
India 6.9% Aug-17 1.5% Jun-17
Madagascar 8.2% Mar-17 6.9% Dec-16
Mexico 6.7% Aug-17 5.4% Mar-17
Moldova 7.3% Jul-17 5.1% Mar-17
Tajikistan 8.7% Jul-17 7.2% Mar-17


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