Oman inflation surges to 19-month high
MUSCAT: Oman's inflation rose to a 19-month peak of 4.2 percent year-on-year in September as food and housing costs picked up sharply, official data showed.
Price pressures in the Persian Gulf Arab region have been growing this year, raising concern about excessive price growth among governments.
Oman's has risen mainly on food and housing costs, while higher crude prices have helped its trade balance improve.
Consumer inflation accelerated to 4.2 percent year-onyear in September, from 3.4 percent in August, data from the economy ministry showed.
Food, beverage and tobacco costs, which account for more than a third of the index, jumped 2.6 percent on a monthly basis from 1.2 percent in the previous month.
"The biggest issue is food inflation, but this will decline a little in the coming months and anything related to imported inflation as a result of a weaker dollar is going to reverse because now we are going into a stronger dollar phase," said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Riyadh-based Banque Saudi Fransi.
Food inflation traditionally climbs during Ramadan, which ended in mid-September, when families enjoy larger and more elaborate evening meals after daylight fasting.
"In the beginning of the year, as a result of the stronger dollar, some of the factors, that helped push inflation up in the Persian Gulf, will begin to bring inflation at lower levels," Sfakianakis said, who expected three percent inflation in 2011.
Inflation stood at 1.7 percent in January this year and is still down sharply from a record high of 13.7 percent reached in June 2008, before the financial crisis.
The country's central bank governor said in September he was not much worried about inflation which he said was a 'reasonable range'. Furniture and housing costs rose 0.2 percent month-on-month in September, after a 0.3 percent drop in August, data showed. -PB News
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