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The price of eggs is falling fast – but mielie meal is still a lot more expensive than a year ago

| Economic factors

Between November and December the price of eggs dropped by 4%, according to numbers released by the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) on Monday, making for year-on-year price deflation of 7.5%.

In December 2019 you could buy 18 eggs for R38.71, the NAMC said, or R3.16 less than the average price it had recorded for December 2018.

That steep decline was one of few major movements the NAMC recorded in its urban food basket, which tracks the price of a set basket at retail level. The overall price of the basket increased by only 0.3% month-on-month, making for annual inflation of 2.7% – considerably below headline inflation for consumers across all categories of spending.

Meat prices remained stable month-on-month and pretty much year-on-year too in December, the NAMC's report showed; beef mince was 1.8% less expensive than the year before, while individually quick-frozen chicken portions were 5.3% more expensive and polony cost 1.4% more than in December 2018.

Coffee, cheese, and white bread also remained largely stable in price.

Rice and potatoes were recorded at year-on-year price increases of 4.9% and 4.5% respectively. 

But a handful of prices have spiked over the course of the past year.

Despite only a small change in price over December, a tin of baked beans was still 9.4% more expensive than the year before, the NAMC's data shows.

Meanwhile, peanut butter was actually slightly cheaper in December than it had been in November – but year-on-year is still 11.1% up.

The price of a 5kg bag of super maize meal, a staple for many South Africans, also declined slightly month-on-month, but is still up 22.4% compared to the previous year, from R35.14 in December 2018 to R43.02 last month.

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