COST OF LIVING

May inflation eases to 5.47% despite rising Consumer Price Index

There was a drop in some household commodity prices.

In Summary

•Prices of food items such as avocado, irish potatoes and tomatoes decreased by 4.50, 3.58 and 3.0 per cent respectively, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics notes.

•Food and non-alcoholic drinks index however increased by 0.86 per cent between April and May as year-on-year food inflation stood at 10.55 per cent in the month under review.

A customer picks tomatoes on a shelf at a Carrefour Supermarket/ENOS TECHE
A customer picks tomatoes on a shelf at a Carrefour Supermarket/ENOS TECHE

The country's year-on-year inflation rate eased to 5.47 per cent in May from 5.62 per cent in April, latest data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicate.

This is despite a 0.63 per cent increase in overall Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the percentage change in the price of a basket of goods and services consumed by households.

CPI increased from 107.92 in April to 108.60 in May.

 

Overall inflation opened the year at 5.78 per cent(January) before rising to 6.80 per cent in February. It later eased to 5.51 per cent in March.

This month's drop was as a result of a reduction in prices of some household commodities such as avocado which retailed at Sh67.69 a kilo, down from Sh70.89 a kilo in April.

A kilogramme of irish potatoes also went down to Sh71.63 from Sh74.29 while that of tomatoes dropped to Sh115.89 from Sh119.47 last month.

Prices of some food items such as avocado, irish potatoes and tomatoes decreased by 4.50, 3.58 and 3.0 per cent , respectively,”KNBS director general Zachary Mwangi noted in a statement on Friday.

Food and non-alcoholic drinks index however increased by 0.86 per cent between April and May as year-on-year food inflation stood at 10.55 per cent in the month under review.

“The rise was mainly attributed to increase in prices of some food items such as onions, carrots, oranges, spinach and sukuma wiki which rose by 4.51, 3.32,2.57,2.24 and 1.96 per cent , respectively,” Mwangi said.

A kilo of sukuma wiki, consumed widely by households, retailed at an average Sh50.86 up from Sh49.88 in April.

Beans traded at Sh122.28 per kilogramme up from Sh119.89 a kilo in April while that of spinach equally went up to Sh58.63 compared to Sh57.34 last month.

During the same period, housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels' index increased by 0.84 per cent.

“This was mainly attributed to a 3.17 per cent increase in cost of kerosene. On the other hand , during the review period, the prices of electricity dropped slightly,” Mwangi notes.

Transport index increased by 0.02 per cent despite the decrease in prices of petrol and diesel by 9.81 per cent and 19.12 per cent respectively over the same period.

Kerosene, mainly used by poor households for cooking and lighting, averaged Sh81.08 per litre compared to Sh78.59 a litre last month.

Petrol and diesel however dropped on prevailing fall in global oil prices with a litre of super petrol, mainly used by motorists, dropping to an average Sh79.67 a litre compared to Sh98.52 in April.

Diesel retailed at an average Sh84.58 down from Sh93.78 the previous month.

The average prices cut across the April-May and May-June price review by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) which reviews fuel prices every mid-month.

In its latest review on May 14, EPRA reduced pump prices to Sh83.33 for a litre of petrol and Sh78.37 for a litre of diesel in Nairobi.

Pump prices for Kerosene however increased by Sh2.49 to retail at Sh79.77 a litre.

"No kerosene cargo was discharged at the Port of Mombasa for the period April 10 to May 9. Therefore, the prevailing kerosene price has been maintained but with adjustments in VAT calculations," EPRA director-general Pavel Oimeke said.

Electricity costs however eased this month according to KNBS data which indicates Kenyans paid Sh771.25 for 50 kilowatts compared to Sh782.48 in April.

House rents also remained unchanged in most parts of the country as Kenyans struggled to meet their financial obligations in the wake of Covid-19, which has hit households hard as millions of jobs remain on the line.

The retail price survey by KNBS was conducted during the second and third weeks of the month, with prices being obtained from selected retail outlets located in 50 data collection zones, 14 of which are in Nairobi and the rest 36 are in other urban areas.