In Brief

Costly food leaves March inflation flat at 9.2 percent

Kenya’s March inflation stayed flat at 9.2 percent similar to a month earlier, the latest update from the statistics office shows.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) says the rate of change in the cost of living was largely attributed to an increase in the prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks at 13.4 percent as well as transport costs which posted a 12.6 percent jump following an upward review of retail pump prices mid-March.

The prices of cabbages, carrots and potatoes went up by 8.9, 8.5, and 8 percent between February and March at a time when the country endured the effects of severe drought before the onset of the long rains season. During the same period, however, the prices of onions, cooking oil and tomatoes eased by 0.9, 0.7 and 0.3 percent.

Alcoholic drinks, tobacco, and narcotics saw an 8.7 percent jump in prices while housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels registered a 7.5 percent upswing in costs during the month under review. Customers accessing sports, culture, and recreational services experienced a 6.2 percent rise in charges while restaurants and accommodation services in hotels went up by 6.5 percent.

This week, policymakers at the Central Bank of Kenya raised interest rates by 75 basis points to 9.5 percent, a level last seen five years ago as CBK moved in step with regulators in the developed economies to tackle runaway inflation.

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