February inflation eases to 23-month low


Fresh tomatoes on sale at Githurai market. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Inflation dropped to a 23-month low of 6.3 percent in February following a decline in prices of major staples easing the pressure on the majority of low-income households, the latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows.

Consumer prices over the 12 months to January, or inflation, had increased at a rate of 6.9 percent as households spent more on school fees after the December holidays.

“The overall year-on-year inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 6.3 percent, in February 2024,” said Benjamin Avusevwa on behalf of KNBS Director General.

The 6.3 percent inflation is the lowest since the March 2022 rate of 5.56 percent and remains within the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) band of between 2.5 percent and 7.5 percent.

While fuel prices remained high pushing up the transport costs by an average of 10.8 percent in the review month, prices of some food items dropped in the month of February compared to January helping slow down the inflation rate.

“Prices of tomatoes, sugar, maize, grain-lose and maize flour-lose dropped by 5.7, 4.6, 3.4 and 1.6 percent, respectively, between January and February 2024,” said Mr Avusevwa.

However, prices of spinach, sukuma wiki and wheat flour increased by 3.9, 3.4 and 2.6 percent respectively.

Year-on-year, even the prices of sukuma wiki and spinach dropped. However, prices of beans, carrots, beef with bones, Irish potatoes, broken rice and wheat flour increased in February this year compared to the same month last year.

The cost of fuel and electricity, however, has remained high owing to a weak shilling that has pushed the price of refined petroleum. Diesel is used by thermal power producers with Kenya Power passing on the additional cost to Kenyans.

In the first week of February, the CBK’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) raised its benchmark lending rate to a 12-year high of 13 percent owing to the weak shilling and concerns that the inflation rate had remained stuck in the upper bound of between five and 7.5 percent.

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