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Oman’s inflation drops to 2.7% in April despite higher food prices

23 May 2022 By GULAM ALI KHAN

Muscat – Despite the increase in prices of many food items, Oman’s annual inflation rate further decreased for the third straight month in April, thanks to the stability in prices of fuel, rent, water, electricity, communication and transportation.

Inflation rate – as measured by the sultanate’s consumer price index (CPI) – decreased to 2.67 per cent in April 2022 from 3.6 per cent in March 2022. The sultanate’s annual inflation was recorded at 4.0 per cent in February and 4.4 per cent in January this year, according to data released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

However, consumer price inflation for food and non-alcoholic beverages group, which has nearly 24 per cent weight in Oman’s CPI, rose to 5.43 per cent in April 2022 compared to the same month of the previous year.

Global food prices have been soaring fast since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since Oman needs to import most of the food materials from international markets, rising global prices directly affect the prices in the local market.

Among food items, prices of cooking oil and fats rose nearly 15 per cent year-on-year in April, but bread and cereals prices grew at a lower rate of 2.7 per cent.

While meat prices recorded a 7.7 per cent increase, prices of fish and seafood products jumped 6.5 per cent in April on year-on-year basis. Consumer prices for vegetables remained 9.7 per cent higher in April 2022 compared with the same month a year ago, and prices for fruits increased by nearly 8 per cent on year-on-year basis.

On the other hand, prices in the housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels group – which has over 26 per cent weight in Oman’s CPI – increased only by 2 per cent in April this year compared to April 2021. Prices in the transport group – which has more than 19 per cent weight in CPI – increased by 2.4 per cent in April 2022 compared to the same month a year ago.

Oman’s annual inflation rate has first time dropped below three per cent level since October last year.

International institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and global credit ratings agencies expect Oman’s inflation to remain above three per cent level in 2022.

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