Last month’s slight uptick in South Africa’s food inflation mirrors the tail-end effects of the 2015-2016 El Niño induced drought in the livestock sector, according to Agriorbit. As farmers continued to restock their herds, the slaughtering activity eased slightly, resulting in the increase in meat prices. However, the expected recovery in the poultry sector could soften the pace of an increase in overall meat inflation over the coming months. The uptick in food inflation was largely driven by meat, which was no surprise given the ongoing cattle herd restocking process resulting from the recent drought. Recent data shows that farmers slaughtered 193 373 head of cattle in April 2017, down 19% from the previous month and the corresponding period last year. Futhermore, the continuous imports of chicken and an expected recovery in local poultry production on the back of lower feed costs could soften the pace of an increase in overall meat inflation over the coming months.On the positive side, recent weather updates suggest that fears of another El Niño weather phenomenon have eased.
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