Kenyan Inflation Rate Nears Year-High on Food, Fuel Price Rises

Kenyan inflation accelerated for a fifth straight month in February as transport costs jumped and food prices edged higher.

Consumer prices rose 5.8% from a year earlier, compared with 5.7% the previous month, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said Saturday in an emailed statement. The median estimate of six economists in a Bloomberg survey was 5.7%. Prices rose 0.7% in the month.

Key Insights:

  • Inflation has remained in the central bank’s target range of 2.5% to 7.5% for more than three years. It is expected to stay inside the band in the near-term, Governor Patrick Njoroge said last month after the monetary policy committee held the benchmark interest rate at 7%.
  • Prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks, which account for a third of the inflation basket, rose 6.9% year-on-year.
  • Kenya has adequate stocks of corn, the country’s staple. Production is estimated at 42 million 90-kilograms bags in the year through June and a deficit of about 3 million bags will be filled by imports from neighboring countries, the Ministry of Agriculture’s principal secretary, Hamadi Boga, said by phone Thursday. That is likely to keep prices stable.
  • Desert locusts continue to pose a significant threat to food security, the presidency said in an emailed statement Thursday.
  • Annual transport inflation accelerated to 16.7% from 14.2% a year earlier. Gasoline costs have risen for three straight months, driven by soaring crude oil prices in the global market. The price of diesel, which is also used for electricity generation, increased by 6% from Feb. 15.

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