By Gabriele Steinhauser

JOHANNESBURG--South African consumer prices rose by 6.6% in January compared with a year earlier, a slight decrease from the annual inflation rate of 6.8% recorded in December.

Food prices, which were up 11.4% from a year earlier, continued to be a main driver for inflation, as was the cost of transport, which increased by 6.7%.

Despite the slight improvement from January's reading, underlines the challenges faced by South Africa's central bank, which wants to avoid interest rate increases beyond the current 7% amid weak economic growth.

The bank said last month that it expected inflation to remain above its 3% to 6% target range until the fourth quarter this year and average 6.2% in 2017.

Write to gabriele.steinhauser@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 15, 2017 03:35 ET (08:35 GMT)

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