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Kingdom’s inflation edges down to 2.6%

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s March inflation has edged down to 2.6 percent from 2.8 percent in February, according to official data.
Saudi Arabia’s Central Department of Statistics has released the March consumer price data.
Housing rents jumped 4.5 percent from a year earlier in March, while the overall housing and utilities group increased 4.1 percent. Food and beverage prices rose 3.8 percent.
Analysts polled by Reuters in January expected average inflation in the world’s top crude oil exporter to remain steady at 3.5 percent in 2014 and climb to 4.0 percent in 2015.
Saudi Arabia’s imports fell 8.0 percent from a year earlier in February, while nonoil exports climbed 20.6 percent, data from the Department showed. Nonoil exports account for around 12 percent of Saudi Arabia’s overall exports.
Analysts polled by Reuters in January forecast Saudi Arabia’s current account surplus at 14.7 percent for 2014, down from an estimated 18.7 percent in 2013.