CAIRO: Egypt’s annual inflation rate increased to 13.8 percent in June, the first time it has jumped in 11 months following a new round of austerity measures designed to overhaul the country’s economy, the official statistics agency said Tuesday.
The figure, announced by the Central Agency for Mobilization and Statistics, covers the period from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.
The June rate compares to 11.5 percent in May, covering the period of June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018.
The agency attributed the increase to a hike in the price of some commodities, including vegetables (4 percent) and cereals and bread (2 percent).
Transportation fares increased by 27.8 percent. Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel prices hiked by 8.1 percent in June, according to CAMS.
Inflation peaked last summer, hovering around 30 percent after the government cut fuel and electricity subsidies as part of broader economic reforms to meet demands by the International Monetary Fund for a $12 billion bailout loan. Egypt secured the loan in 2016.
In June 2017, the annual inflation rate was 30.9 percent, according to the statistics agency. Since then, inflation figures showed a steady monthly decline to reach 11.5 in May, the lowest level in around two years.
June figures came in the wake of recent steep price hikes for fuel, drinking water and electricity was introduced by the government in the recent weeks.
The hikes come as Egypt presses ahead with a broader economic reform program that has included slashing subsidies, imposing a value-added tax and a currency flotation. The tough austerity measures have won praise from economists and business leaders but have come as a heavy blow to poor and middle-class Egyptians.
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the architect of the economic reforms ? which none of his predecessors dared implement ? defended his government’s decision to slash subsidies. He urged Egyptians to be patient as the reforms take effect.
Egypt’s economy is still recovering from unrest following the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.—AP