Kenya’s inflation shoots up to 6.58% in April

Nairobi – Kenya’s inflation shot up in April to its highest level since September 2017 due to rising food, electricity and fuel prices, the statistics office said on Tuesday.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said inflation was 6.58 per cent year-on-year in April from 4.35 per cent a month earlier.

On a month-on-month basis, inflation was 3.51 per cent, up from 1.60 per cent in March.

The last time inflation was near this level was in September 2017, when it stood at 7.06 per cent year-on-year.

The bureau said food and the non-alcoholic index rose 6.86 per cent month-on-month in April from 3.30 per cent the previous month.

The index carries a 36.04 per cent weight in the basket of goods used to measure inflation.

Kenya’s long rainy season from March till May started late in most of the country, hurting food and other agricultural production.

Agriculture accounts for close to a third of Kenya’s annual economic output.

The government’s preferred band for inflation is between 2.5 and 7.5 per cent in the medium term.

“While we were expecting food and fuel prices to be a source of pressure on inflation, the magnitude of the rise has taken us by surprise,’’ Razia Khan, the Head of Research for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank in London, said.

The Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and other Fuels Index was up 0.93 per cent month-on-month and 5.78 per cent year-on-year, the statistics office said.

The World Bank trimmed its forecast for Kenya’s economic growth in 2019 to 5.7 per cent in April from an earlier forecast of 5.8 per cent because of the delay to the rainy season.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, however, said this month the government expected the economy to grow by 6.3 per cent in 2019. (Reuters/NAN)

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