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Relief as benchmark food prices down 2 per cent in a year

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This paints a promising prospect for the general cost of living, which has been relatively high in the past two years, majorly hard-hitting developing nations in Africa.

The prices of basic food commodities  - cereals, wheat, vegetable oil, dairy, and sugar - are steadily reducing from their 2022 peak, a trend pointing towards an easing of the cost of living.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the global food price index, a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of commonly used food commodities, stood at 120.6 points in June 2024, unchanged from its revised figure for May.

This as increases in the price indices for vegetable oil, sugar and dairy products balanced out a decrease in the price index for cereals, while the meat index was almost unchanged.

"The measure remained 2.1 per cent lower than its corresponding value one year ago, and 24.8 per cent below its peak of 160.3 points reached in March 2022," the FAO says.

This paints a promising prospect for the general cost of living, which has been relatively high in the past two years, majorly hard-hitting developing nations in Africa.

The agency also projected increased production of some of the food commodities in the better part of this year, to ease the demand that often pushes up prices.

It says, for instance, that the cereal output will reach an all-time high this year, driven in part by improved production prospects in major exporting countries.

The easing in food prices prospect by the FAO mirrors the easing cost of living in the country, reflected by the latest June inflation data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

The headline figure for the month declined to 4.6 per cent from 5.1 per cent the previous month, on the back of reduced prices of some food commodities during the month.

The level is the lowest record in the past four years, as a similar mark was last recorded in June 2020.

Prices of oranges, sugar, and maize flour-sifted dropped by 2.5, 2.4 and 2.0 per cent, respectively between May 2024 and June 2024.

"Conversely, prices of cabbage, spinach and Kale (sukuma wiki) increased by 14.8, 11.3 and 10.7 per cent, respectively, in the period under review," KNBS data shows.

The transport index also dropped by 0.2 per cent between May 2024 and June 2024 mainly due to a decrease in the prices of petrol and diesel by 1.6 per cent and 3.4 per cent, respectively.

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