Inflation holds steady

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MASERU — Lesotho’s annual inflation rate remained unchanged in September at 3.3 percent, according to figures released by the Bureau of Statistics this week.

The rate stood at the same level the previous month.

Lesotho’s inflation rate has hovered between three and four percent in recent months.

The annual inflation is the rate at which prices of a selected basket of goods increases within a year.

Lesotho imports almost all its food requirements from neighbouring South Africa.

Analysts say the current strength of the rand and the generally low global food prices have been behind Lesotho’s low inflation rate.

Household utilities such as electricity and gas have recorded huge increases in the past year.

“The following groups had a contribution to the annual increase: electricity, gas and other fuels with 6.8 percent, furniture and furnishing, carpets and other floor coverings with 6.8 percent,” the bureau said in its report.

It said other contributors for the annual increase in inflation were food and clothing.

Monetary authorities such as central banks use the inflation rate to adjust the repo rate which is the rate at which the central bank lends to commercial banks.

Monetary policy authorities also use the interest rates to maintain price stability in the economy.

Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate declined slightly from 19.4 percent to 19.2 percent in the first quarter, according to the latest figures released by the Bureau of Statistics.

The Continuous Multipurpose Household Survey was based on data collected between February and April this year.

The survey was introduced to provide timely data on a more regular basis.

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