Muscat – Oman’s annual inflation marginally increased for the first time in four months in October after a sharp rise in the prices of some food items.
Inflation rate – which is based on the consumer price index (CPI) – slightly increased to 2.39 per cent in October from September’s 13-month low of 2.36 per cent, the CPI data released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCS) showed.
Sharp price increases for meat, cooking oil and fats, and fruits largely contributed to the overall slight increase in October inflation, the NCSI data showed.
The annual inflation rate in food and non-alcoholic beverages group – which has nearly 24 per cent weight in Oman’s CPI – increased to 4.64 per cent in October this year which is more than a percentage point higher compared to September reading.
Within the food items, prices of cooking oils and fats jumped more than 20 per cent in October 2022 compared to the same month a year ago, while meat price rose 9.6 per cent on year-on-year basis. Consumer price index for bread and cereals increased by 4.9 per cent in October against the same month of the last year.
Fish and seafood products, however, recorded a 5.3 per cent year-on-year decline in October prices. While fruits and vegetables prices remained almost stable in October, non-alcoholic beverages witnessed a 5.3 per cent rise in October prices compared to the same month of 2021.
On the other hand, prices in transport group – which has more than 19 per cent weight in the CPI – increased 2.16 per cent in October compared to the same month a year ago. Furnishing, household equipment and household maintenance group also witnessed an year-on-year price increase of 2.0 per cent in October.
Prices for the group of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel items remained only 1.08 per cent higher in October compared to the same month of 2021.
Despite the pressure from higher global commodities prices, Oman’s annual inflation this year has averaged less than three per cent, thanks to the price caps introduced by the government on selected fuel and food commodities.
The average inflation rate during January–October period of 2022 stood at 2.95 per cent, according to NCSI data.
In contrast with global inflationary trend, Oman’s inflation has been decreasing since the beginning of this year, thanks to the stability in prices of fuel, rent, water, and electricity.
Inflation in Oman has been significantly lower than most of the advanced and emerging market countries. Global inflation sharply increased this year driven mainly by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and supply problems due to COVID-19 related restrictions implemented in 2020 and 2021.
Despite the growing global inflationary pressures, inflation outlook in Oman remains moderate and does not pose any imminent concern for financial stability in the sultanate, the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) recently said in its Financial Stability Report 2022.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a report said that inflationary pressures have been contained in Oman thus far, reflecting the price caps on selected fuel and food items. The IMF expects Oman’s inflation to average 3.0 per cent for 2022, which is way below the global and regional averages.