Saudi Inflation Up 2% in March on Higher Food, Transport Prices

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Saudi Arabia's consumer price index rose 2% in March from a year earlier on the back of rising transport and food costs, increasing for the seventh consecutive month, government data showed on Thursday, Reuters reported. Food and beverages rose 3% compared to a year earlier, driven by a 2.4% rise in meat prices and 9.4% in vegetable prices, the General Authority for Statistics said in a statement. James Swanston, Middle East and North Africa economist at Capital Economics, said he expected inflation to continue strengthening over the coming months as food prices continue to rise, in part due to the war in Ukraine. He expects inflation to peak around 2.5% in the third quarter before coming back down to between 1% and 1.5% by 2023 or 2024. "The increase in inflation was broad-based across most major price categories," he wrote in a research note. "Despite rising global energy prices, local fuel prices have been kept capped at last July’s level, resulting in a slowdown in fuels and lubricants inflation. Meanwhile, housing and utilities inflation was pushed higher by stronger rents." Read more.