CAIRO, Sept 8 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt's annual consumer inflation rate jumped to 16.4 percent nationwide in August, a significant rise from the previous month, the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) said on Thursday.
The consumer inflation rate rose to 14.8 percent in June from 12.9 percent in May. The rate remained steady in July at 14.8 percent.
The general index of consumer prices pointed to a 2 percent increase in August compared to July, according to the CAPMAS report.
The agency attributed the rise mainly to the increase in prices of vegetables by 6.4 percent and fresh and frozen meats by 3.3 percent. The month of August also saw an increase in the prices of sugar, oil, electricity, natural gas and petroleum products as well as transportation services.
Specifically, the prices of tomatoes increased by 15 percent, potatoes by 4.9 percent and sugar by 13.7 percent.
Other goods saw a drop in their prices such as mangoes, lemons, poultry, eggs and rice.
Emirati investment bank Arqaam Capital previously forecasted that the recent surge in electricity prices would contribute to higher inflation rates in the coming period due to its direct effect on the cost of producing goods and services.
The bank said in a report earlier in August that inflation might increase to 15-16 percent in September due to the effect of the electricity price increase on the commercial and industrial sectors.
Egypt's central bank raised its key interest rates by 100 basis points in June to their highest levels in years, in a move intended to rein in surging inflation and ease downward pressure on the Egyptian pound, following the increase in inflation in May.
The cash-strapped government is currently facing the consequences of years of political turmoil triggered by the 2011 Uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, halving the country’s foreign reserves and scaring away tourists and investors.
Egypt's net foreign reserves rose to $16.564 billion at the end of August, marking an increase of around one billion dollars.