(Bloomberg) — South Africa’s inflation rate fell to a four-year low of 3.9 percent in February, giving the central bank room to extend the pause in its policy-tightening cycle.
Inflation slowed from 4.4 percent in January, the Pretoria- based statistics office said on its website on Wednesday. The median estimate of 25 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was 3.8 percent. Prices rose 0.6 percent in the month.
The South African Reserve Bank, which aims to keep inflation in a range of 3 percent to 6 percent, has left its benchmark repurchase rate unchanged since raising it to 5.75 percent in July. The bank will make its next rate decision on March 26.
While falling oil prices last year helped to curb inflation in Africa’s second-largest economy, Brent crude rose 18 percent in February, boosting gasoline costs. A drought in some parts of the country may also add renewed pressure to food prices, the central bank said in a report on Tuesday.
The core inflation rate, which excludes food, non-alcoholic beverages, gasoline and electricity costs, was unchanged at 5.8 percent in February.
–With assistance from Simbarashe Gumbo in Johannesburg