Inflation hits 10-month high as food costs hit Kenyans hard


Inflation hits 10-month high as food costs hit Kenyans hard

In Summary

  • The resulting pressure on incomes during the month is largely attributable to higher food prices with an acceleration in costs to tomatoes leading the weakening of consumer purchasing power.
  • The cost of tomatoes rose by 29.6 percent in the period as shortages hit the supply of the commodity across the country which onions and spinach registered a 7.2 and 3,2 percent increase in costs.
  • During the month, the Kenyan shilling came under slight pressure from major world currencies to exchange at Ksh.100.98 against the US dollar at the close of trading on Thursday from an improved Ksh.100.46 on February 4.

Kenyans have been hit hard by higher prices on basic consumer goods with February’s inflation rising to a 10 month high of 6.4 percent.

The resulting pressure on incomes during the month is largely attributable to higher food prices with an acceleration in costs to tomatoes leading the weakening of consumer purchasing power.

According to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February, food costs accelerated by 2.6 percent with onions, spinach and kales registering the other sharp price increases.

The cost of tomatoes rose by 29.6 percent in the period as shortages hit the supply of the commodity across the country which onions and spinach registered a 7.2 and 3,2 percent increase in costs.

On average, a kilo of tomatoes retailed for Ksh.133.80 from Ksh.103.24 in January and Ksh.82.39 an year ago. Meanwhile the cost of onions soared to Ksh.110.29 from Ksh.102.80 in January.

Nevertheless, some relief was registered in the pricing of key commodities such maize and wheat flour with a kilogram of loose maize grain easing marginally to Ksh.50.86 from Ksh.51.53 in January.

Likewise, growth in electricity costs cooled down as the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) lowered its Forex and fuel adjusted costs to monthly electricity bills.

The partly ease was however quickly offset by higher fuel and housing costs with EPRA impacting a 2.5 and 2.1 per cent increase in petrol and diesel costs during its mid-month maximum pump prices review creating a knock-on effect on fares.

The 10 month high inflation rate is expected to pack the pressure on household incomes as Kenyans fork out more to meet their routine needs.

The inflation rate however falls within the government target range of 2.5-7.5 percent which it backs to foster higher economic output over the medium term.

During the month, the Kenyan shilling came under slight pressure from major world currencies to exchange at Ksh.100.98 against the US dollar at the close of trading on Thursday from an improved Ksh.100.46 on February 4.

 

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Story By Kepha Muiruri
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