KUWAIT: Kuwait’s consumer prices dipped 0.3 percent month-on-month in February partly on falling food prices in a reversal of course after two months of increases, the Gulf country’s data showed on Sunday.
Consumer price growth in the Arab Gulf is expected to pick up again this year as economies in the world’s top oil exporting region recover from the 2009 slowdown, but it should still stay in the low single digits due to sluggish credit growth.
Prices rose by 0.5 percent month-on-month in January, after a 1.4 percent jump in the previous month.
Annual inflation was unchanged at 2.8 percent in February, after booking a five-month high in January, the Central Statistics Office’s data showed.
Inflation in the OPEC member touched a three-and-half year low of 1.6 percent in November 2009.
Housing costs, which have the largest weight of 27 percent in the overall basket, were flat in February for the second month in a row.
Food prices, which account for 18 percent of the basket, fell by 0.3 percent from the previous month, following a 0.8 percent increase in January.
Transport prices, the third biggest basket component, rose 0.1 percent, after a 0.2 percent rise in January.
Household goods and services slid by 0.1 percent month-on-month in February, while other goods and services fell 2.3 percent, following sharp rises in the previous month, the data showed.
Kuwait’s central bank governor said in April he saw the IMF’s forecast for inflation of 4.8 percent in 2010 as quite reasonable.
A Reuters poll last week forecast inflation in Kuwait, which pegs its dinar to a dollar-dominated currency basket, would stay steady at 4.0 percent for the full year of 2010.