Egypt urban inflation jumps on back of sliding currency


CAIRO — Egypt’s urban consumer inflation shot up to 8.2 percent in the 12 months to February, statistics agency CAPMAS said on Sunday, as a sliding Egyptian pound pushed up food prices. The rate jumped from an annual 6.3 percent in January, putting inflation at the highest since May last year as an economic crisis erodes living standards and deepens anger among Egyptians at a time of political and social turmoil. February’s month-on-month rate also leapt to 2.5 percent from 1.7 the previous month. Food and drink prices — a major spending item particularly for Egypt’s poor — rose 9.3 percent year-on-year last month, CAPMAS said in a bulletin posted on its website.

EFG Hermes economist Mohamed Abu Basha blamed the sharply higher inflation rate on the Egyptian pound’s fall, which has pushed up the price of imported food and fuel. “It could rise more given the ongoing unrest and huge losses in the value of the Egyptian pound of around 10 percent of its value since the start of the year,” he told Reuters.