The cost of living increased slightly in May to highs seen in March on account of the increase in fuel costs which consecutively increased food and transport cost
The overall rate of inflation in May was 5.87 per cent, compared to the 5.76 per cent recorded in April. A monthly report from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) attributes the modest increase to higher costs of transport, food and non-alcoholic beverages. The cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 1.26% month on month and 7.36% year on year.
Among the food items marking increased prices in the past month include onions, sukumawiki, cabbages, tomatoes and beef.
A kilogram of cabbage recorded the highest increase in price, retailing at Kes 44.85, 7.3% higher than its April 2021 price. Sukuma wiki and onions also registered price increments at 6.5% and 5.03%, respectively, retailing at Kes 53.98 and Kes112.65, respectively.
Food products, which carry the largest weight in the inflation basket at 32.19%, rose 0.32% from April.
The spike in the costs of the items was enough to offset price cool down in commodities such as oranges, potatoes and sugar.
Additionally, transport cost increased by 0.69% from April due to a 2.87% increase in fuel prices to Kes 127.21 per litre.
Meanwhile, Housing and energy costs eased by 0.15 per cent from a decrease in the prices of charcoal and electricity. A kilogram of charcoal decreased by 2.9% to retail at Kes 58.07. Homes consuming 50 kilowatt-hours (kWh) paid Kes 837.18 last month, a 2.47% drop from April, while those that used 200 kilowatt-hours (kWh) paid Kes 4, 752.32, a 1.75% drop.
The greater consumer prices are expected to weigh heavily on Kenyans amidst the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen many breadwinners in families lose their jobs or receive pay cuts.