The food and non-alcoholic beverages category was the main driver of inflation in December 2020, Statistics SA (Stats SA) announced on Wednesday.
Consumer price inflation was 3.1% in December, down from 3.2% in November, Stats SA said.
It said food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 6% year-on-year, and contributed one percentage point to the total consumer price index annual rate.
It said three food groups recorded above average annual and monthly price increases in December.
Stats SA said meat prices rose by 7.3% from a year ago and by 1.2% from November. Stewing beef was 2.9% more expensive than it was in November last year and 12.4% more expensive than in December 2019.
Prices in the oils and fats category climbed by 10.2% over 12 months and by 1.6% over one month. Cooking oil prices increased by 11.3% since December 2019 and by 2.9% between November and December last year.
Inflation in sugar, sweets and dessert products recorded an annual rise of 8.4% and a monthly rise of 1.1%. White sugar prices increased by 1.1% over the month and by 10% over the year.
Housing and utilities increased by 2.7% year-on-year, and contributed 0.7% of a percentage point.
Stats SA said the average annual inflation rate for 2020 of 3.3% is the lowest annual average rate since 2004 (1.4%) and the second lowest since 1969 (3%).
It said one of the reasons for low inflation in 2004, according to the SA Reserve Bank at the time, was a firmer rand, which strengthened from R7.56/$ in 2003 to R6.45/$ in 2004.