The monthly cost of living in the country’s cities and towns has gone down by 1.4 percent to K118 663 ($264) in May from K120 390 ($268) the month before, according to a Basic Needs Basket (BNB) prepared by Centre for Social Concern (CfSC).
The faith-based think-tank has attributed the drop in May 2015 cost of living in Lilongwe, Zomba, Blantyre, Mzuzu, Karonga and Mangochi to lower maize prices and charcoal, which have a huge weight in the BNB.
CfSC economic governance officer Mathias Kafunda said maize prices have gone down by 11 percent while charcoal prices have dropped by four percent.
He said Mzuzu had the biggest maize price drop at 28 percent from K6 400 ($14) per 50 kilogramme (kg) bag in April to K5 000 ($11) in May while the grain’s price in Zomba was constant at K6 600 ($15).
“Charcoal prices have reduced and milling prices have also gone down in the cities of Lilongwe, Zomba and Karonga,” said Kafunda, attributing the reduction to availability of farm produce on the market.
“The price of beans has also gone down in all cities and towns while the price for beef has dropped from K1 517 [$3] per kg to K1 500 [$3) per kg,” said Kafunda.
He said although the cost of living is lower, this year’s trend is higher as compared to 2014 because of the unfavourable weather conditions the country experienced.
In the May 2015 BNB report, the cost of living for Mzuzu was at K107 602 ($239), Lilongwe K133 914 ($298), Blantyre K133 789 ($297), Zomba K116 452 while in Karonga and Mangochi it was at K105 175 ($237) and K115 038 ($256) respectively.
Maize is critical for the country as it commands a huge weight at 50.2 percent in the consumer price index (CPI).