Egypt Inflation Rate at Highest This Year After Price Hikes

Consumer prices in urban parts of Egypt rose at their fastest pace since December as food costs climbed and recent hikes of electricity and tobacco took their toll, Bloomberg News reported. The annual inflation rate accelerated to 5.4% in July compared with 4.9% the previous month, according to data from the state-run statistics agency CAPMAS on Tuesday. Prices rose 0.9% on a monthly basis, from 0.2% in June. The quickening followed increases in power bills and cigarette costs in the North African nation in recent weeks against a backdrop of surging global commodity prices. Food and beverages costs, the largest single component of the inflation basket, climbed an annual 4.8%. Transport was up 6.6% and alcohol and tobacco 2.9%. Despite the acceleration, inflation is at the lower end of the central bank’s 5%-9% target range and analysts such as those at HSBC Holdings Plc see it remaining at similar levels into next year. A closely watched factor will be a mooted rise in prices for subsidized bread, a move President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi urged last week. The government is studying the hike, although there have been no official estimates yet of the new costs. Read more.