The Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) has said a household of six people in Blantyre last month needed K80 397 (about $321) to meet the rising prices of basic food items.
This is a 48 percent jump compared to prices of the commodities the same time last year, meaning that purchasing power for ordinary Malawians has been greatly eroded.
This also comes at a time when the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) has adjusted fuel prices by an average of 7.6 percent, a move likely to have reciprocal adjustments in transport costs and other items.
Already, Malawians are reeling from the wrath of a recent sharp devaluation of the kwacha which has triggered commodity price hikes while income levels for average employees remain stunted.
“In July 2012, the nominal basic needs basket for Lilongwe, Zomba, Blantyre and Mzuzu were K79 900 (about $319), K67 185 (about $268), K80 397 (about $321) and K69 899 (about $279), respectively,” said Alex Nkosi, CfSC social conditions research programme officer on Wednesday.
Based on CfSCâ€™s July Basket, it means Blantyre topped Malawiâ€™s four cities in as far as cost of living is concerned while at the same time residents of Zomba did not bear much the brunt of high cost of basic goods.
CfSC analysis, however, shows that two 50 kilogramme bags of maize in Blantyre was selling at an average of K7 000 (about $28) in July as compared to at an average K3 500 (about $14) during the same period last year.
Last month, two 50 kg bags of maize were selling at K5 572 (about $22), K6 516 (about $26) and K5 000 (about $20) in Lilongwe, Zomba and Mzuzu.
The average cost of consuming electricity per month in Blantyre is also on the higher side than other cities as CfSC indicates in its survey results that K3 389 was spent in the commercial city per each household size of six against the cost of K2 885 (about $11), K2 823 and K1 108 in Lilongwe, Zomba and Mzuzu.
Economic experts have since warned that consumers across the country should brace up for tough times as both food non food inflation will continue to be on the upward spiral.
“The high rising inflation rate will continue to erode the purchasing power of money, resulting in lower disposable incomes and reduced savings,” says Nico Asset Managers in its latest economic report for the month of July.