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S.Africa’s inflation rate slumps to lowest in 15 years

South Africa’s annual consumer inflation rate slid to 2.1 percent in May, the lowest in 15 years, due to a decline in fuel prices, the statistics agency said Wednesday.

The latest data were recorded as the country was in the throes of a coronavirus hard lockdown that shut businesses.

“Annual consumer price inflation fell to its lowest reading since September 2004, dragged lower mainly by falling fuel prices,” it said in a statement.

International energy prices have plummeted due to the coronavirus pandemic which has eroded demand for crude.

In September 2004, the inflation rate stood at 1.3 percent.

Economic output in South Africa, which now has the most number of coronavirus infections on the continent, is forecast to crash spectacularly due to the impact of the lockdowns.

Overall, the economy is projected to shrink by 7.2 percent in 2020, the deepest slump in 90 years.

South Africa has so far registered 298,292 cases of the coronavirus, and 4,346 deaths.