Saudi inflation hits 10-month high in April
Saudi inflation climbed to a 10-month peak of 4.9 percent in April, data showed on Sunday, as global harvest concerns kept food prices up in the import-reliant Kingdom.
Price pressures are seen rising again this year as oil exporters recover but inflation is expected to stay in low single digits across the Gulf.
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Inflation in the Kingdom stood at 4.7 percent year-on-year in March, down from a record high of 11.1 percent in July 2008. Analysts polled by Reuters expected an average inflation of 4.4 percent this year.
Month-on-month, the cost of living in the world's largest oil exporter edged up 0.3 percent, after a 0.5 percent rise in March, state news agency SPA said, quoting the government data.
"We were expecting a lower year-on-year inflation for April but there is a gradual build up," said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi."This leads us to conclude that inflation for the year will average 4.7 percent against an earlier forecast of 4.3 percent," he said.
Food prices, which account for 26 percent of the overall basket, edged down 0.1 percent month-on-month in April after a 0.9 percent jump in the previous month. They were up 5.1 percent on an annual basis in April.
Household costs rose 1 percent month-on-month in April at a similar pace to the previous month, while showing a 9.6 percent rise on an annual basis.
Bad weather in countries that export crops to Saudi Arabia have raised concerns over availability of supplies for some commodities such as rice.
The Kingdom is among the world's top five rice importers and became a major wheat importer in 2008 after abandoning a 30-year self-sufficiency plan.