Key contributors to the annual inflation rate included food, housing, utilities and transport, according to a Statistics South Africa report.

At its last monetary policy meeting in January, the central bank said it wanted to see a clearer disinflation trend before cutting interest rates.

The South African Reserve Bank likes to see inflation around the mid-point of its 3% to 6% target range.

Core inflation, which excludes food and fuel prices, accelerated in January to 4.7% in annual terms from 4.5% in December.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Andrew Heavens)