March inflation hits 5.9pc on greater fuel costs

The cost of living has tipped further with March inflation coming it at a higher 5.9 per cent from 5.78 per cent in February. According to the latest consumer prices index (CPI) by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) released on Wednesday, the higher rate of inflation has accrued from higher fuel costs. The subsequent rise in maximum pump prices mid-way through March has seen transport, energy and housing costs shoot upwards. For instance the housing, water, electricity,gas and other fuels index rose by 0.59 per cent in the last one month while the transport index has surged by 1.49 per cent. On March 14, all three fuel products registered increments with petrol costs rising the sharpest by 6.6 per cent to average Ksh.123.66 a litre, the highest cost of the commodity on record. Meanwhile, kerosene and diesel prices rose by 5.8 and 5.6 per cent respectively to average Ksh.98.78 and Ksh.108.58 per litre. Food costs meanwhile rose by a marginally by 0.35 per cent to leave overall food inflation over the past month at 6.65 per cent. Commodities such as mangoes, green grams and tomatoes lead the rise in food costs but were offset by decreases in the price of commodities such as onions, maize grain and maize flour in the same period. The cost of living on account of greater fuel prices is tipped to rise further in April with Energy Cabinet Secretary John Munyes hinting a further rise in costs at the pump in the middle of next month. The rate of inflation at the end of March stands at its highest since April last year.

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