COST OF LIVING

Inflation falls to 5.49 per cent as weather improves

The drop was largely driven by a reduction in the year-on-year food inflation

In Summary

•Data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows a 1.09 per cent drop from a high of 6.58 per cent in April

•During the month, prices of spinach, sukuma wiki (kale) and tomatoes recorded decreases

Products displayed at a supermarket.
Products displayed at a supermarket.
Image: FILES

The cost of living measure dropped to 5.49 per cent in May on account of favourable weather conditions which resulted in lower food prices.

Data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows a 1.09 per cent drop from a high of 6.58 per cent in April.

This falls within the government's target set at a maximum of 7.5 per cent and minimum of 2.5 per cent.

 

The drop was largely driven by a reduction in the year-on-year food inflation which decreased to 6.33 per cent from 8.17 per cent in April.

“The food and non-alcoholic drinks index decreased by 0.37 per cent in May mainly due to favourable weather conditions which led to lower prices for some commodities,” the index showed.

The rate defies a recent projection by, the Parliament Budget Office who stated the inflation rate was on an uphill trend this year on account of poor rainfall. This, according to the PBO would eventually lead to 11 per cent inflation rate by the end of the year.

The agency had raised concern over inadequate rainfall that was anticipated to come to an end by of the month.

“Given a much-delayed onset of the long rains season, the amount of rainfall for most parts of the country is currently below 55 per cent of what is normally experienced,” the PBO said in a report dubbed Unpacking the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2019/20 and the medium term.

During the month, prices of spinach, sukuma wiki (kale) and tomatoes recorded decreases of 10.69, 9.35 and 6.78 per cent respectively.

The price of a kilogramme of spinach also reduced on the year-on-year inflation to cost Sh63 from Sh69 recorded over the same period last year. Kale and tomatoes retailed at Sh56.02 and Sh97 per kg from Sh60.17 and Sh120.39 respectively.

 

However the cost of some food items such as maize grain, sifted maize floor and sugar saw an increase in price over the month from April by 7.47 per cent, 5.68 per cent and 6.15 per cent to Sh48.45, Sh118.63 and Sh108.87 respectively.

The retail cost of cabbages and potatoes also increased by 3.51 per cent and 1.56 per cent to Sh48.22 and Sh99.42 respectively.

House rent for one room increased slightly by 0.21 per cent to an average of Sh4496 over the months, also marking a 4.31 per cent increase from the previous year.

The housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels index increased by 0.61 percentage points due to the higher cost of rent and cooking fuels.

The Transport index also rose by 0.32 per cent attributed to prevailing high diesel and petrol prices retailing at Sh105.23 and Sh112.79 per litre respectively.