The figure is down by 0.7 of a percentage point from the inflation rate of 5.2% in November 2018. Inflation for October was 5.1%, the agency said.
"On average, prices decreased by 0.2% between November 2018 and December 2018," Stats SA said.
Ahead of the announcement on Wednesday morning analysts had estimated that inflation would range between 4.3% and 4.5% on the back of a substantial decline in fuel costs.
Stats SA also announced that average annual consumer price inflation for the whole of 2018 was 4.7%, some 0.6 of a percentage point lower than the corresponding average of 5.3% in
Speaking from Davos (Switzerland) in an interview, South African Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago said if inflation was at the midpoint of the bank’s targeted range between 3% and 6%, this would allow flexibility to deal with shocks.