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Economy

Inflation rises marginally in May on higher cost of food

The cost of living measure rose for the first time this year in May due to higher food prices. PHOTO | FILE
The cost of living measure rose for the first time this year in May due to higher food prices. PHOTO | FILE 

The cost of living measure rose for the first time this year in May due to higher food prices.

Inflation increased marginally to 3.95 per cent, from 3.73 per cent in April, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

“Between April and May, food and non-alcoholic drinks’ index increased by 1.35 per cent. This was due to increase in prices of some foodstuffs outweighing decreases recorded in respect of others,” the KNBS said in a statement.

Food takes up the largest share (36 per cent) of the basket of goods that is used to calculate inflation, making it the main driver of the cost of living.

Tomatoes recorded the steepest price surge of 15 per cent to Sh120 per kilo, followed by spinach which was up five per cent to Sh69 a kilo.

Other food items that rose include carrots, onions and Irish potatoes.

Drop in power cost

On the flipside, drops in electricity and cooking gas prices handed households a reprieve.

Homes that consumed 200-kilowatt hours (kWh) in May paid Sh4,178, a three per cent drop from Sh4,322.

Users of 50 units of electricity monthly paid four per cent lower in May at Sh709.

It was the first power bills drop since the year started, eased by increased use of cheaper hydropower that cut the share of expensive diesel generated power.

Refilling a 13-kg cylinder of cooking gas dropped to an average of Sh2,164 from Sh2,172 a month earlier.

Charcoal prices, however, continued rising and shot nine per cent to Sh135 per four-kilo tin. This is as a result of the recent logging ban.

At 3.95 per cent, the May inflation is within the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) preferred range of between 2.5 per cent and 7.5 per cent.

The rate has stayed within the 4/5-year low range since last November.

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