RIYADH: A rise in food and drink costs helped push Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate up by 3 percent in October, according to data released by the General Authority for Statistics.
Prices in the sector rose 4.4 percent, with food seeing a 4.6 percent increase.
The cost of meat was one of the driving forces behind the rise, climbing 6.1 percent.
The year-on-year inflation rise was slightly down on the figure in September, when the Kingdom’s Consumer Price Index stood at 3.1 percent compared to the same month of 2021.
The September to October slowdown marked the first dip since May 2022, showed the GASTAT data.
The report added that the high relative importance of the food and beverage category in the Saudi consumer basket, along with its inflated costs, make it the primary driver of inflation last month.
The housing rental market jumped 3.7 percent in October, alongside a 3.3 percent rise in water, electricity, gas and other fuels.
The official data also revealed that Saudi Arabia’s transport prices increased by 4.4 percent in October, backed by a 5.8 percent rise in the cost of buying a new car.
Personal goods and services increased by 0.9 percent, and the rental prices of wedding halls jumped 8.5 percent.
As for restaurants and hotels, their costs increased by 2.9 percent, mainly resulting from the 6.8 percent increase in catering service prices, whereas the costs of recreation and culture went up by 2.9 percent as charges of renting rest houses and camps increased by 15.1 percent.
On the other hand, clothing and footwear saw a drop in prices by 1.2 percent as garments cost 2.5 percent less in October.
Furthermore, the GASTAT report indicated that the month-on-month change in the Kingdom’s CPI saw a moderate 0.2 percent increase compared to September of this year.
The monthly change in CPI has been recently shrinking as it recorded 0.3 percent in September, 0.4 percent in August, and 0.5 percent in July whereas in June it stood still compared to the month before.
The GASTAT report showed that month-on-month inflation was mainly affected by the increase in actual rentals for housing, catering services, education prices, communication prices, as well as transport and health prices.
Compared to September 2022, the prices of personal goods and services, clothing and footwear, food and beverage, and recreation and culture all saw moderate dips last month.