Stock - Saudi economy / Riyadh skyline
Food and beverage prices, which were the main driver of inflation during much of 2022, fell 0.1% on a monthly basis. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate ticked up to 3.3 per cent in December from 2.9 per cent in November, government data showed on Sunday, with price rises again driven mainly by housing costs.

Prices rose 0.3 per cent month on month in December, compared with a 0.1 per cent monthly rise in November, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics said.

Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, with a 25.5 per cent weight of the consumer basket, rose 5.9 per cent from a year earlier and were 0.9 per cent higher compared with November.

The statistics authority said the rise was “as a result of the increase in actual rentals for housing by 1.1 per cent.” Food and beverage prices, which were the main driver of inflation during much of 2022, fell 0.1 per cent on a monthly basis, though they were still up 4.2 per cent compared to December 2021.

“The annual consumer price index for 2022 increased by 2.5 per cent compared to 2021, mainly influenced by the rise in food and beverages prices by 3.7 per cent and transport prices by 4.1 per cent, due to their weight in the index,” the General Authority for Statistics said in a separate report.

The housing category rose 1.8 per cent in 2022, “mainly resulting from the increase in actual rentals for housing by 2.0 per cent”, the authority said.

The finance ministry, in its 2023 budget statement, had said it expected an average inflation rate of 2.6 per cent at the end of 2022.