DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s inflation rate quickened to 5.3% in April from 4.9% the previous month, still reflecting an increase in value-added tax last year, official data showed.
The 5.3% annual increase was mainly due to higher food and transport prices, the General Authority for Statistics said.
“Prices of food and beverages recorded the highest annual increase of 8.4%, mainly due to the increase in food prices,” it said.
On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices increased 0.2%.
Annual inflation was 3.4% in 2020, picking up in the second half of the year after authorities tripled a value-added tax to 15% to bolster coffers hurt by the coronavirus crisis and lower oil prices. Saudi Arabia’s economy shrank 3.3% in the first quarter this year from a year earlier, hit by oil output cuts, but the non-oil economy expanded 3.3%, recovering from the pandemic, according to flash government estimates this month.
The kingdom’s economy, the largest in the Arab world, is expected to grow 2.1% in 2021 after shrinking 4.1% last year, the International Monetary Fund said this month.