LIVING COST

High food, fuel prices push Kenya's cost of living further

The country’s inflation touched a high of 7.1 per cent in May.

In Summary

•Kenya's inflation touched a high of 7.1 per cent in May from a 6.47 per cent in April and 5.56 per cent in March.

•Transport costs also increased in the last 31 days due to the increase in fuel prices that saw petrol sell at Sh150.12 in Nairobi, up from Sh144.62.

Groceries on display for sale at Kangemi market on April 7, 2022.
Groceries on display for sale at Kangemi market on April 7, 2022.
Image: FILE

Kenya's cost of living accelerated further in May due to high food and fuel prices hitting 7 .1 per cent from 6.47 in April and 5.556 percent in March.

Latest Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Consumer Price Index and Inflation data shows the rise was mainly driven by an increase in prices of commodities under food and non-alcoholic beverages basket (12.4 per cent).

Furnishings, household equipment and maintenance, increased by 1.0 per cent between April and May due to the rising in prices of detergents, among other items.

Transport costs also increased in the last 31 days due to the increase in fuel prices that saw petrol sell at Sh150.12 in Nairobi, up from Sh144.62. Transport Index increased by 0.8 per cent between April 2022 and May 2022.

"This was mainly attributed to increase in prices of petrol and diesel that rose by 3.8 per cent and 4.4 per cent, respectively," KNBS director general Macdonald Obudho said in a statement on Tuesday.

Housing, water, gas and other fuels’, went up by 0.6 per cent in the same period as the price of kerosene rose by 4.8 per cent to  Sh118.94.

Kenyan households have been grappling with rising food prices which have been pegged on high fertiliser prices and recent dry weather conditions.

Factors including the shortage and the cost of the dollar have also contributed to the rise in commodity prices in recent weeks.

On Monday, manufacturers raised concern over their struggle to raise enough dollars at a higher cost to facilitate essential foreign trade transactions such as raw material importation.

With banks selling the US currency for as high as Sh120, a number of manufacturers have been forced to cut supply a move that will likely add to the plight of consumers due to the foreseen shortage.

Between April and May, the price of a packet of fresh  milk increased by Sh3 and now retails at an average of Sh57.

Cooking oil (salad) increased by Sh19 from Sh351 in April to Sh370 in May.

Wheat flour prices increased to Sh165 from Sh160 mainly on increased global prices occasioned by supply constraints, where sanctioned Russia, and Ukraine remain the biggest exporters of the commodity.

The local agricultural sector has also been hit by the high cost of fuel where petrol and diesel remain key in running firm machinery.

Farmers have been forced to pass the costs to consumers hence the high food prices.

The cost of fortified maize flour went up by Sh9, from Sh138 in April  to Sh147 in May.

The overall month-to-month food and non-alcoholic beverages index increased by 1.3 per cent between April 2022 and May 2022, KNBS noted.

This rising pattern could be witnessed next month as global factors among them the Russia-Ukraine war continue to impact on the economy.

The Central Bank of Kenya in its latest Monetary Policy Committee meeting, forecast a gloomy picture of the global economic outlook.

It said  this is due to uncertainty from effects of Covid-19 containment measures in China, and persistent supply chain disruptions.