October inflation eases to 17-month low on falling food prices


A fruits and vegetables trader: Food takes up the largest share of the basket of goods that is used to calculate inflation, making it the main driver of the cost of living. PHOTO | FILE

Kenya’s inflation fell to 5.72 per cent this month in October from 7.06 per cent in September helped by a drop in prices of several food items, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said in a statement on Tuesday.

This is the lowest level the cost of living index has hit since June 2016 when it was captured at 5.8 per cent.

The cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks fell by an average of 1.78 per cent thanks to favourable weather conditions, KNBS director-general Zachary Mwangi said today.

An increase in rent, electricity and cooking fuel, however, pushed up the housing and utilities index by a marginal 0.47 per cent compared to September.

“The higher cost of electricity was attributed to increase in the foreign exchange adjustment charges despite the fuel and other charges remaining constant,” Mr Mwangi said.

The transport index rose by 0.86 per cent in the month largely on a rise in petrol and diesel prices.

A persistent drought earlier in the year saw inflation, a measure of annual change in cost of living, hit a multi-year high of 11.7 per cent in May.

This prompted the government to implement a food subsidy programme, targeting maize and sugar imports.

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