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Living costs rise in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 1 – The cost of living went up last month driven largely by an increase in food prices, according to figures released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

Inflation rose by six percentage points to 18.4 percent in August over the July data due to an increase in the prices of sugar, sukuma wiki (kale), and cabbage among other food items.

“Food and non alcoholic drinks index went up by 1.4 percent from 471.76 points in July to 478.32 points in August 2009,”said a statement from the Bureau.

The increase in the cost of electricity also contributed to the rise in the 0.6 percent rise in the fuel and power index in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Month-on-month underlying inflation rate, which excludes food items from the CPI basket however dropped from 4.5 percent in July to 3.5 percent in August.

The statistics come a few weeks after the Bureau of Statistics announced that it is collecting data which will be used to compute a new formula for calculating inflation.

The new method is expected to be implemented in February next year.

Experts have forecasted that inflationary pressures could rise going forward as Kenyans continue to grapple with skyrocketing food prices, power costs driven largely by a supply constraint.

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