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Saudi inflation at lowest level since April 2007

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation eased marginally to 2.9 percent in January, the lowest level since April 2007, from 3.0 percent in December, data from the Central Department of Statistics showed.
Prices of food and beverages rose 5.0 percent year-on-year in January but dipped 0.1 percent from the previous month. Housing and utility costs increased 3.7 percent on an annual basis and 0.4 percent month-on-month.
Analysts polled by Reuters in January expected average inflation in Saudi Arabia to remain steady at 3.5 percent in 2014 and climb to 4.0 percent in 2015.
The department earlier said Saudi Arabia’s imports in December fell 6.5 percent from a year earlier, while non-oil exports rose strongly.
Nonoil exports account for around 12 percent of Saudi Arabia’s overall exports.
Percentage changes are Reuters calculations based on official data.
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.
The latest inflation data are based on the 2007 consumer basket; the statistics office provided annual inflation rates recalculated with the 2007 base year back to September 2012.
Older data use the 1999 base year.