Fuelling the price of food

When petrol prices increase,  food prices also increase. Prices at the Matrix, Pig and West campus have increased, making it difficult for students to afford simple meals.

“A fall in petrol price doesn’t mean a fall in food prices. It just means food prices will rise at a slower rate”, said economist Chris Hart on eNCA news

A litre of  95 octane costs R12,47 in Gauteng,  a fall from R13,20; R12,24 for 93, R11,41 for 500ppm diesel and R11,45 for 50ppm diesel.

The sudden reduction of 73cents is a result of the rand dollar exchange rate and the oil price. Last month the rand strengthened (against the US dollar) and the oil price declined, which led to a decrease in the petrol price.

Lebohang Moeletsi, a strategic management student at Unisa, doesn’t think the fall in the petrol price will be significant to consumers: “the decrease in the petrol price will not have a significant impact on administered prices”.

Moeletsi said this was because the recent large increases in the petrol price have already been built into what consumers pay and the “current decrease is negligible in comparison”.

The reduction in the petrol price comes after some steep increases in recent times. Two and a half years ago, a litre of 95 octane petrol cost just R8,32 in Gauteng.

What this means for Witsies is that the decrease in petrol prices is relatively small compared to the increase in the daily spending on food. The fact that the petrol price has declined by 73cents doesn’t necessarily mean we will have more money to spend.

Another worrying factor is that the petrol price is very volatile which means we may see another substantial increase before the end of the year.

Fuel price hike worries students

SOME Wits university students have raised concerns of decreasing spending power on the back of rising fuel prices.

There are talks of an imminent fuel price hike in all grades of fuel this month, an increase of 82 cents from the current price.

Economist at Economics.co.za Mike Schussler said a fuel price hike is definitely on the cards, which has grave knock-on-effects on other living expenses.

“Inflation will go up and the average motorist will fork out R109 more per month on fuel. The average increase since December (2012) is about R250pm”, Schussler said.

Lucia Martinengo, 1st year BA, said fuel price hikes will severely impact her ability to spend on campus food.

“The fuel price is a stress in life, as I do not have money to buy food when the petrol price is high.  Either I sacrifice on buying food or spending on petrol for travel to school,” she said.

Martinengo added that fuel price increases will be a burden to her family as she currently spends R1 000 on fuel per month.

Students who find alternative ways for transport such as car pooling clubs will also feel the pinch in travelling costs and money for food. “Money is scarce for food, as my car pooling costs are currently R500 per week and with the fuel price increase my costs will be R600, the best option would be to make food at home, ” said Firdaus Shcik, 1st year BA.

Students also said they will feel additional financial pressure when the e-toll system comes into effect. “When the e-toll system comes in place it will affect me, with additional fuel prices”, said Dino Sardiaos, said 1st year BA.

Dawie Roodt, economist at Efficient Group, said higher international oil prices and the weaker rand are the main drivers of an upsurge in fuel prices. He added that consumers can breathe a sigh of relief, as economists expect a small drop in fuel prices later in the year.