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Economy

Inflation stood at 6.37pc in February, highest in 10 months

Tomatoes on sale at Muthurwa Market in Nairobi
Tomatoes on sale at Muthurwa Market in Nairobi on February 12, 2020. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Kenya’s inflation jumped to a 10-month high in February, largely driven by increased food prices.

Inflation – a measure of changes in the cost of living year-on-year – climbed to 6.37 percent from 5.78 percent a month earlier, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said.

This is the highest growth since 6.58 percent in April 2019.

“The increase in inflation was driven by increase in prices of several food items outweighing decrease registered in respect of others,” the KNBS said in a statement.

The cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks went up by 2.61 percent on average between February and January, and 10.58 percent compared with a year ago, the KNBS data shows.

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This was largely driven by a sharp rise in the prices of vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, spinach and kales (sukumawiki) – items which form part of the daily meal in most Kenyan homes – as a result of heavy rainfall experienced from late last year through early this year.

The cost of tomatoes surged the fastest to retail for Sh133.80 a kilo on average in February, a 62.40 percent jump compared with Sh82.39 a year earlier, while onions cost 23.35 percent more to Sh110.29 per kilo in the review period.

A kilo of loose maize grains – a staple for most Kenyans – retailed for Sh50.86 on average, a 42.77 percent rise from Sh35.63 in February 2019.

Households consumption of 200 units of electricity, however, experienced a slight reprieve after the bill dropped 0.09 percent to Sh4.14 to Sh4,476.72.

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