Rising fuel prices to only worsen cost of living for families

Families already hammered by a high cost of living face even more pain from a twin blow of soaring fuel prices from July 1 and a crippling hike in interest rates.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said Friday, June 30, the overall cost of living went down slightly by 0.1 per cent in the month of June bucking the trend of soaring food, energy, and transport costs.

The inflation rate stood at 7.9 per cent last month from 8.0 in May, said KNBS.

KNBS admitted in a statement most consumer goods recorded a jump in prices even as it indicated the overall cost of living measure had eased marginally.

Inflation continues to hover outside the government’s 2.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent range since breaching the upper limit in June last year.

The prices of key food items have climbed significantly over the past couple of months, adding pressure on cash-starved households still reeling from the economic hit of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The rising cost of living is further burdening the already economically strained Kenyans and stoking social tensions at a time President William Ruto’s government is facing mounting pressure to address the cost of living in response to his campaign promises.

This saw the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) hike its key lending rate recently noting that inflation would remain stubborn in the next two months.

CBK governor Kamau Thugge noted that core inflation — which excludes volatile food and energy prices — is running at above four per cent after surging past three per cent in recent months.

“Of course, as I have explained, since that time, new information has become available, and indeed, inflation pressures have been rising, inflationary expectations have increased and therefore, we found it very necessary to relook at the situation using the new data and new information,” he said. 

“And that is what informed the Monetary Policy Committee’s decision to hike the CBR (central bank rate) by 100 basis points.”  

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