The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) predicted Tuesday a slight growth in the average inflation rate in Kuwait in 2012 amid modest growth in consumer expenditure and high prices of foodstuffs.
"As consumer price data for 2012 comes to a close, we discern that lower than expected food price inflation and low pressures elsewhere have resulted in tamer inflation rates for the second half of the year, as we now expect inflation to average 2.9 percent for 2012," the NBK said in a report released Tuesday. The NBK also expected a higher growth in inflation in 2013.
"Some of the upside pressures (healthy consumer spending, higher international food and commodity prices, etc.) may still transpire later, but we generally expect inflation to remain modest through 2013, averaging 3.5 percent," it added.
Moreover, the NBK pointed out that Kuwait's Inflation in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) ticked up to 2.3 percent year-on-year (y/y) in November, from 2.1 percent in October. The slightly higher rate in November came from some month-on-month increases in clothing, household goods and services, and transportation.
It noted that though the inflation rate has edged higher in the past 2 months, it remains modest, averaging 3.0 percent 11 months into the year.
"Core inflation, which excludes food and beverage prices, stood at 1.8 percent y/y in November. Food prices were up 4.0 percent y/y in November, up from 3.8 percent in October. The general picture remains similar to the previous month, as most sub-components saw modest increases relative to the sharper rates we saw in 2010 and 2011." Data also showed that prices for clothing and footwear climbed 3.7 percent y/y in November, compared to 3.1 percent in October. Prices for readymade garments, a sub-component of this segment, went up 5.6 percent y/y, causing much of the upward inflationary pressure here.
Data for transport and communication prices showed a 2.6 percent y/y increase. Prices also went up 1.1 percent m/m, acting as one of the drivers in the slight uptick in the headline inflation rate in November.
"Price inflation in this segment came primarily from a 5.5 percent increase in personal transport equipment (cars). Prices for "saloon" (sedan) cars went up 5.4 percent y/y, while price for other vehicles was up 9.3 percent y/y. It is worth noting here that prior to September 2012, prices of salon cars hadn't changed in more than 2 years. Higher price pressure in this segment and the clothing segment are likely a reflection of strong and steady consumer spending," added that report.
The NBK went on to say that "similar to recent trends, the inflation rate in a handful of the segments remained below the 2 percent mark. Household goods and services went up 1.9 percent, up from 1.1 percent in October and thus also responsible for some of the m/m increase in headline inflation".
"Similarly, education and medical care also recorded a 1.9 percent y/y increase, close to its 1.7 percent in October. In general, these subdued pressures in most segments highlight a continued source of downward pressure on inflation in Kuwait."