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Inflation rises for the first time in five months

Inflation in January rose for the first time in five months, driven by higher prices of food, electricity and fuel. PHOTO | FILE
Inflation in January rose for the first time in five months, driven by higher prices of food, electricity and fuel. PHOTO | FILE 

Inflation in January rose for the first time in five months, driven by higher prices of food, electricity and fuel.

The cost of living measure rose to 4.83 per cent from 4.50 per cent in December, where it touched a 55-month low.

This bucks the trend where inflation has been dropping since September, largely helped by government temporary subsidies that expired this month on maize flour – the country’s staple.

The subsidies, meant to cushion the poor, were tied to last year’s drought.

“Between December 2017 and January 2018 food and non-alcoholic drinks’ index increased by 1.69 per cent mainly due to increases in prices of some foodstuffs which outweighed the falls in others,” the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said in a statement.

Largest share

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, followed by utilities such as rent, water, electricity, gas and fuels at 18 per cent.

Some food items that recorded price increases in January include sukuma wiki, beef, cabbages and irish potatoes.

KNBS said transport costs were on the climb, in response to rising fuel pump prices as did electricity bills.

At 4.83 per cent, the January inflation is still within the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) preferred range of between 2.5 per cent and 7.5 per cent.

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