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Cost of living eases in December as cost of cooking gas drops

Inflation eased to 6.35 per cent in December even as food, fuel and electricity prices continued to increase amid a drop in cooking gas costs.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data shows that the cost of living dropped from a nine-month high of 6.68 per cent in November.

Homes got a further relief in December from cheaper cooking gas prices that have been falling due to lower global prices of crude from which the fuel is extracted and the removal of value added tax (VAT) in July.

Refilling a 13-kilogramme gas cylinder costs an average of Sh1,983 in December, down from Sh1,987 a month earlier and Sh2,369 in December last year – representing savings of Sh386 for homes over the past one year.

But food prices rally continued, piling pressure on consumers.

“Between November and December, food and non-alcoholic drinks’ index increased by 1.31 per cent. This was attributed to increase in prices of several food items which outweighed the decreases of others,” the KNBS said.
Beef cost went up

The KNBS data shows that beef was up Sh2 on average to Sh402 a kilogramme in December, a kilogramme of cabbages rose by Sh5 to Sh67 while sugar was up Sh3 to an average of Sh131 a kilogramme.

Food takes up the largest share (36 per cent) of the basket of goods that is used to calculate inflation, making it the main driver of the cost of living.

Motorists also had to contend with rising petroleum prices, after the energy regulator adjusted the prices upwards mid-December on recovering global oil prices.

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