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January 21, 2019

Food and transport prices were key factors in 2018 living cost

Milk on sell at Carrefour supermarket / ENOS TECHE
Milk on sell at Carrefour supermarket / ENOS TECHE

Consumers paid more for food and transport in 2018 compared to other goods and services.

During the year under review, food prices rose towards the end of year when the government slapped an eight percent Value Added Tax on petroleum products affecting the cost of consumer products and services.

The December 2018 Consumer Prices Index indicates between November and December, food and non-alcoholic drinks’ Index increased by 1.05 per cent due to an increase in prices of some foodstuffs outweighing decreases.

This is an increase from a similar period in 2017 when a 0.25 per cent rise was recorded.

Out of 25 selected commodities, only six food items registered reduced prices compared to a year earlier, the data showed.

Kerosene rose 46.5 per cent, from Sh72.42 in December. In March 2018, it sold at Sh78.41 but jumped to Sh86.69 in July and closed the year at Sh106.15.

Prices of tomatoes declined by 19.8 per cent from Sh94.52 in December 2017 to Sh75.74 last December. In March 2018, a kilo of tomatoes sold for Sh101.16 but declined to Sh95.60 in July, and ended the year lower at Sh75.74.

In March last year, a two kilo packet of wheat flour sold at Sh123.67, the same price that it closed at last month, registering a marginal 8.4 per cent decline from Sh135.32 at the end of 2017.

On the flip side, a four kilo tin of charcoal used for cooking rose 70.1 per cent from Sh88 in 2017 to Sh141 last month. In March last year, it was retailing at Sh107.36, plummeting to Sh137.39 four months later.

Electricity consumption also cost more last year from the year before, with 50 Kwh hitting Sh757 from Sh649.

Transport costs went up as a litre of diesel rose 21 per cent to Sh111.89 from Sh92.44 during the period under review, resulting in hiked bus fares from Sh407 to Sh431 for an average 250 km distance.

According to Numbeo, the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide, it costs between Sh200 and Sh600 to enjoy a plate of food in an average, inexpensive restaurant in Kenya. A meal for two people in a mid range restaurant will set you back Sh2,550.

The website has listed the average prices of more than 40 products and services, including transport, food and housing.

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