Inflation hits 31.5 pct

Kenya’s annual inflation soared to 31.5 percent in May from 26.6 percent for the previous month, led by a hike in food prices which have been affected by a global trend and the east African nation’s post-election crisis.”Overall inflation rate increased from 26.6 per cent in April 2008 to 31.5 per cent in May 2008,” the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement on Tuesday.The May rate was the highest in four years, according to Central Bank data that only has monthly inflation figures going back to 2004.

The food and non-alcoholic drinks’ index led the overall rise, up 44.2 percent year-on-year.Underlying inflation, which excludes food, rose to 10.5 percent in May from 9.6 percent in April.The statistics bureau said the fuel and power index rose 17.9 percent year-on-year, while transport and communication was up 20.3 percent.Like other developing countries, Kenya has been hard hit by global food price rises. Police in Nairobi fired teargas on Saturday at hundreds of people protesting against high prices.

The Kenyan situation has been exacerbated, however, by post-election violence in January and February that affected agricultural production and planting.The statistics bureau collects data every second and third week of the month from shops in 13 towns in the country.Its basket is intended to be representative of the spending behaviour of urban Kenyan households.

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