DUBAI, 15 December – Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate eased to 2.9% in November from 3% in October, government data showed on Thursday, with price rises driven mainly by housing costs.
Consumer prices increased slightly by 0.1% compared to October, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics said.
Housing rents rose by 5.4%, pushing the overall increase in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels to 4.7%.
Food prices, which have been the main driver of increases in the last couple of months, increased by 3.6% while transport costs rose 4%.
The Saudi government, in its recently released budget statement, forecast inflation in the kingdom to average 2.6% by the end of 2022 “under the exceptional global circumstances.”
High oil prices have helped Saudi Arabia’s fiscal balance to tilt to its first surplus since 2013 this year, at 2.6% of GDP. It also revised its GDP growth forecast for 2022 to 8.5% from 8%, boosted by an expansion in non oil private sector activity.
While most Gulf central banks have raised interest rates in line with the Federal Reserve’s moves – most recently on Wednesday – governments in the region have also taken measures to limit the impact of rising prices, such as capping fuel prices. — Reuters