Retail prices to remain static over festive season

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Retail tills could just ring faster this festive season, but prices should remain static into the New Year as liquidity challenges and low disposable incomes hit consumers, a top economist said.

Taurai Mangudhla

Independent economist John Robertson told businessdigest consumer buying power is reducing each day with indications most workers will not get their annual bonuses.

“People are losing their jobs, there are retrenchments all over and all these negative developments are causing the total wages to decrease,” Robertson said in a telephone interview.

Robertson said inflation could be pushed up slightly by food shortages between now and the next harvest, particularly for maize.

“Inflation is not caused by more spending power but by shortages and the shortages, especially of maize, are going to affect the inflation but I don’t think it’s going to be significant,” he said.

On prices, Robertson said the country was likely not to see any price shifts during the Christmas period because of increased competition among retailers for the customer’s dollar.

“Supermarkets are trying hard to capture loyalty of shoppers by bringing prices down which is not a good thing for them because some have closed down after reducing margins.”

OK Zimbabwe CEO Willard Zireva this week said his company was pinning hopes of boosting sales in the remaining part of the year to payment of civil servants annual bonuses. The country’s year-on-year inflation rate for the month of October 2013 as measured by the all items Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 0,59%, shedding 0,28 percentage points on the September 2013 rate of 0.86%, according to Zimbabwe national statistics Agency (Zimstat)’s latest figures.

“This means that prices as measured by the all items CPI increased by an average of 0,59 percentage points between October 2012 and October 2013.”

The year-on-year food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation prone to transitory shocks stood at -0,74% whilst the non-food inflation rate was 1,25%.

The month on month inflation rate in October 2013 was -0.01 percent shedding 0,07 percentage points on the September 2013 rate of 0,05%.

“This means that prices as measured by the all items CPI decreased at an average rate of -0,01%2013,” added Zimstat.

The month-on-month food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation stood at 0.04% in October 2013, shedding 0.22 percentage points on the September 2013 rate of -0.18%.

The month-on-month non-food inflation stood at -0,04%, shedding 0,21 percentage points on the September 2013 rate of 0,17%.

The CPI for the month ending October 2013 stood at 100,32 compared to 100,33 in September 2013 and 99,74 in October 2012. Ends//

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