A sustained fall in prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages has pulled down the cost of living to a nine-month low even as households continue to lose incomes under the coronavirus lockdowns.
Data released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows the cost of living measure, the inflation rate, fell to 4.59 percent in June.
This represents a drop from a revised May rate of 5.33 percent, and the lowest figure since September last year when it was recorded at 3.83 percent.
In April, when Kenya imposed lockdowns to curb the spread of Covid-19, the production and supply of essential items, among them food were generally exempted.
The data shows that food and non-alcoholic beverages’ index dropped by 1.27 percent over the month, while alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics index also dropped by 0.17 percent.
Foodstuffs including onions and kale (sukuma wiki), however, increased by 3.51 percent and 4.67 percent on the month-on-month inflation and by 23.17 percent and 22.54 percent on year-on-year change.
“This resulted from observed price decreases outweighing increases. For instance, prices of tomatoes, Irish potatoes, cabbages, oranges and wheat flour decreased by 12.16, 5.05, 4.84 and 4 percent respectively in June relative to the prices in May,” KNBS stated.
Over the month, Kenyans paid less for housing, water, electricity, cooking gas and motor fuel with the index decreasing by 0.81 percent compared to the previous month.
“This was mainly attributed to a 21.33 percent decrease in the cost of kerosene,” KNBS added.
On the other hand, commuters paid more over the month as the transport index indicated a 2.08 percent rise.
This was attributed to the 6.81 percent increase in price of petrol, which outweighed 4.76 percent decrease in the cost of diesel recorded over the same period.
Over the month, the price of a litre of petrol was Sh90.34, a Sh6.81 increase over the month.
One litre of kerosene and diesel dropped by Sh21.33 and Sh4.76 to retail at Sh63.79 and Sh75.88 respectively.
The data shows two-bedroom house rent dropped marginally by one basis points to Sh17,158.65 on average across the country.