Kenya and Uganda hit by high cost of living in April

Sunday May 5 2019

A petrol pump attendant. High fuel prices in

A petrol pump attendant. High fuel prices in Kenya and Uganda took a toll on household and business spending in the month of April. PHOTO | REUTERS 

JAMES ANYANZWA
By JAMES ANYANZWA
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Kenya and Uganda recorded high inflation in the month of April as the effects of severe weather and high fuel prices took a toll on household and business spending.

Uganda’s overall month-on-month inflation rose to 3.5 per cent in April from 3 per cent in March while Kenya saw the highest cost of living in 19 months as its inflation jumped to 6.58 per cent from 4.35 per cent in the same period last year.

According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the increase in the cost of living during the month of April was a result of rising food and fuel prices. Fruits and vegetables were hardest hit.

According to the Bank of Uganda, risks to the inflation outlook include uncertain weather conditions, strengthening of the domestic market for goods and services and the volatile exchange rate.

In Kenya, inflation was triggered by high food and fuel prices according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Analysts at the Africa-focused financial advisory firm StratLink said that adverse weather conditions experienced in the region pose a risk to the inflation prospects.

“Rainfall patterns between October last year and now indicate the prevalence of moderate to severely dry conditions over much of the Greater Horn of Africa,” say the analysts in their market report for April.

“In April 2019, there is a high likelihood of seeing drier than average conditions over much of Uganda. The prevailing weather is likely to lead to higher food prices and upward pressure on inflation,” it says.

According to StratLink, Kenya faces inflationary pressures due to the recent spell of dry weather that continued into the month of April pushing food price.

The average overall inflation for Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda during the three months to March 2019 stood at 2.9 per cent compared with 2.93 per cent in the same period last year.

The last time Kenya’s overall month-on-month inflation rose beyond 6 per cent was in September 2017 when the growth in the general level of prices of goods and services in the country stood at 7.06 per cent.

The statistics body attributed the spike to an increase in pump prices for petrol, diesel and kerosene and drought conditions that prevailed for the better part of April causing an upsurge in the costs of some foodstuffs.

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