February inflation falls to 8-month low

Drop in most food commodities helped push down the cost of living during the month by 0.82pc to 4.14pc.

The cost of living has gone down for the first two months of the year, pushing inflation figures to an eight-month low.

Data from the latest consumer price index from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates overall inflation for February went down 0.82 per cent from January to settle at 4.14 per cent on the back of falling food prices.

“The cost of several foodstuffs in February 2019 was much lower compared to the same period of the previous year,” said KNBS in a statement.

“For instance, maize grain recorded a drop of 41.0 per cent from Sh60.37 per kilogramme in February 2018 to Sh35.63 in February 2019. Similarly, the prices of sifted maize flour, spinach and tomatoes declined by 30.68 per cent, 20.66 per cent and 16.63 per cent, respectively.”

This is largely credited for the relatively low overall inflation recorded over the month even as the cost of several cooking and lighting fuels went up significantly over the same period of time.

The cost of 4kg of charcoal, for example, recorded a 66 per cent increase from Sh84 recorded in February last year to Sh141 last month.

This was attributed to constrained supply following the Government’s moratorium on logging, across the country, introduced in February last year. In November, the ban was further extended for another year, pushing up household budgets for millions of low-income earners.

The cost of kerosene, used by a majority of poor households in cooking and lighting, also went up 25 per cent from Sh77.7 per litre last year to Sh97.3 per litre recorded last month.

“The housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels’ index, increased by 0.12 per cent in February compared to January 2019,” explained the KNBS. “This resulted from the higher cost of some house rents and some cooking fuels.”

Prices of domestic consumption of electricity also increased by 2.48 per cent and 1.70 per cent for 50Kwh and 200KWh, respectively.

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