Saudi inflation edges up to 3.3% in December

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The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate ticked up to 3.3% in December from 2.9% in November, government data showed on Sunday, with price rises again driven mainly by housing costs.

Prices rose 0.3% month on month in December, compared with a 0.1% monthly rise in November, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics said.

Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, with a 25.5% weight of the consumer basket, rose 5.9% from a year earlier and were 0.9% higher compared with November.

The statistics authority said the rise was “as a result of the increase in actual rentals for housing by 1.1%.”

Food and beverage prices, which were the main driver of inflation during much of 2022, fell 0.1% on a monthly basis, though they were still up 4.2% compared to December 2021.

“The annual consumer price index for 2022 increased by 2.5% compared to 2021, mainly influenced by the rise in food and beverages prices by 3.7% and transport prices by 4.1%, due to their weight in the index,” the General Authority for Statistics said in a separate report.

The housing category rose 1.8% in 2022, “mainly resulting from the increase in actual rentals for housing by 2.0%,” the authority said.

The finance ministry, in its 2023 budget statement, had said it expected an average inflation rate of 2.6% at the end of 2022.

(Reporting by Yousef Saba; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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