Households are bracing for New Year blues after prices of commonly purchased items shot up for the fourth consecutive month in December, significantly weakening their purchasing power.
Inflation rate rose to a four-month high of 5.82 percent in December 2019, up from 5.56 percent recorded in November, data released Tuesday shows even as the New Year comes with fresh set of obligations.
Households, which generally spend more on food items and fares during the festive season, face additional expenses such as tuition fees at the start of January as schools open.
The report by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows food and non-alcohol drinks index increased by 1.46 percent at the height of December festivities.
“High increase of vegetables was recorded despite the ongoing heavy rains. For instance, price of kale, popularly known as sukuma wiki, tomatoes, spinach and onions increased by 5.6 percent, 7.8 percent, 9.1 percent and 5.1 percent respectively compared with prices for the previous month,” the KNBS report states .
Prices of other items like beans, beef and sugar increased by 1.51 percent, 1.11 percent and 4.12 percent respectively.
The price of two kilogramme of sifted maize flour increased in December by 0.77 percent on the month–on-month inflation and 52.26 percent compared to same period in 2018.
However, during the same period prices of unpacketed fresh milk and mangoes dropped by 0.67 percent and 3.44 percent respectively.
According the KNBS, government clampdown on charcoal trade wiped out the savings from downward review of petroleum prices by the energy regulator as the housing, water electricity, gas and other fuel index increased marginally between November and December.
“Despite decrease in pump prices of diesel and petrol during the month, the transport index increased by 2.1 percent mainly as a result of increase in transport fares,” KNBS added.
However, consumers had a reprieve on cost of electricity after decline by 3.25 percent and 2.26 percent per 50 kWh and 200 kWh from November.