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Inflation dips to 16 month low to defy food prices rise

By Patrick Alushula | Mar 1st 2022 | 2 min read
By Patrick Alushula | March 1st 2022

Inflation slowed from January’s 5.39 per cent to 5.07 per cent in February. [Courtesy]

Inflation has slowed for the third consecutive month, reaching a 16-month low in February this year despite the rising cost of food items led by cooking fat.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) released yesterday showed inflation slowed from January’s 5.39 per cent to 5.07 per cent in February.

At 5.07 per cent, inflation is now at the lowest level since October 2020 when it was at 4.8 per cent. This was helped by reduced electricity prices and unchanged fuel prices. The findings, however, come at a time when food prices have risen, straining consumers’ pockets.

The food and non-alcoholic drinks index, which accounts for a third of the inflation basket, rose 8.69 per cent from a year ago as the cost of items, including cooking oil, maize and sugar increased.

“Prices of food items in February 2022 were relatively high compared with prices of food items recorded in February 2021,” said KNBS Director-General Macdonald Obudho. Prices of cooking fat, capsicums (pili pili hoho), Irish potatoes and sifted maize flour increased by 5.2 per cent, 3.69 per cent, 2.64 per cent and 2.32 per cent in February respectively.

Between February last year and February this year, a litre of salad cooking oil has seen a 31.99 per cent rise, or Sh75.64, to average Sh312.09, making it the item with the steepest price jump in a year.

Consumers who use cooking fat have also not been spared, with a 500-gram tin averaging Sh149.44 in February, a Sh34.87 (30.43 per cent) price jump in a year.

Month-on-month, the only relief was seen in goat milk, mangoes and cabbages, but the increases in the prices of other items meant consumers had to dig deeper into their pockets.

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