October inflation hits 64-month high of 9.6 percent due to high cost of living


October inflation hits 64-month high of 9.6 percent.

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High food, transport and household commodities’ prices have elevated the country’s inflation further to a 5.4-year high of 9.6 per cent, highlighting the pain households continue to endure in the face of a worsening cost of living.

Latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) on commodity prices show that food continues to have the heaviest burden on consumers, with its 12-month inflation rising from 15.5 per cent in September to 15.8 per cent in October.

Prices of irish potatoes, sugar, beans and Sukuma Wiki contributed heavily on growth of food prices in October, to worsen food inflation in the country.

KNBS reported that average price for a kilo of potatoes increased from Sh80.69 to Sh90.78 between September and October, while that of a kilo of Sugar increased by Sh16.6 to hit Sh154.95, a 12 per cent increase.

The price of a kilo of beans increased by 7.5 per cent to Sh161.13, while Sukuma Wiki rose from Sh57.93 to Sh60.13.

“Relative to September 2022, prices of potatoes (irish), sugar and beans increased by 12.5, 12 and 7.5 per cent respectively in October 2022,” KNBS stated.

The increase in prices came as President William Ruto’s government took charge following the swearing-in on September 13, after which he ordered a stop on some subsidies, mainly fuel.

Kenyans have subsequently been faced with increased prices for fuel, electricity and related products across sectors.

KNBS reported that transport prices increased as public transport operators increased fares responding to high fuel prices, after the government ended the fuel subsidy. Transport inflation was the second-highest after food at 11.6 per cent, rising from the rate of 10.2 per cent in September.

Fall in prices

“Transport index increased slightly by 1.0 per cent between October 2022 and September 2022 due to increase in Matatu fares, taxi fares among others. However, the prices of diesel and petrol dropped slightly by 1.2 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively, although well above October 2021 prices,” KNBS stated.

The statistics agency also noted that prices for furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance remained high during the month, with the sector’s inflation rate hitting 10.9 per cent, as prices for Housing water, electricity, gas and other fuels also recorded a 7.1 per cent inflation rate.

Some of the products that recorded a fall in prices in October include sifted maize flour from Sh180 to Sh177 for a 2-kg packet, cooking oil- salad from an average of Sh379 to Sh366 per litre and tomatoes from Sh93 to Sh91 per kilo.

“During the same period, prices of cooking oil (salad) and carrots dropped by 3.5 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively

This is the fifth month in a row for the country’s inflation to stay above the Central Bank of Kenya’s (CBK) 7.5 per cent ceiling, underlining the hardships Kenyan households remain in even as the situation is expected to get worse following this year’s poor rains and poor agricultural performance.

The last time Kenya’s inflation crossed the current figure was May 2017, when it hit 11.7 per cent, before dropping to 9.2 per cent in June 2017.