The consumer inflation index - the measure used by the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) for its inflation target - is expected to tick up to 5.5 percent year on year (y/y) in August from 5.3 percent y/y in July, according to a survey of leading economists by I-Net Bridge.
Forecasts among the eleven economists ranged from 5.3 percent to 5.7 percent.
The August CPI inflation rate was likely to be amplified by the significant weakening in the domestic currency during the month, in addition to pressure from higher food and fuel prices on a y/y basis, Zandile Makhoba, economic analyst at Econometrix said.
"Without the downward pressure of a strong currency on imported consumer goods as well as on imported producer inputs, one is likely to see consumer prices rising further, resulting in more substantial increases in semi-durable and non-durable goods in the economy," Makhoba said.
Standard Bank economist Adriaan du Toit forecast that as was the case in July, food prices would still have contributed significantly to the August headline CPI print.
"We still see some evidence of non-commodity related food cost pressures that are being passed through at the retail level," he said.
Du Toit said they expected CPI to have accelerated to 5.5 percent y/y in August, but that seasonal pricing adjustments posed some upside risk to their forecast.
The "forces" fanning price pressures in the local economy had little-to-nothing to do with the consumer, and almost everything to do with exogenous, cost-pull pressures, according to Brait economist Colen Garrow.
Annual CPI registered at 4.3 percent in 2010 from 7.1 percent in 2009 and 11.5 percent in 2008. It was at 7.1 percent in 2007. The annual average for CPI was 4.7 percent in 2006 from 3.4 percent in 2005, compared with only 1.4 percent in 2004, which was the lowest annual average since 1958.
The August CPI data will be released by Statistics SA at 10:00 on Wednesday, September 21.