By Soren Billing
Big rises in cost of education and clothing lead increase while housing cost falls - official figures.
Consumer prices in Dubai increased 4.5 percent in the first nine months of the year, led by rising costs for education and clothing, it was reported on Monday.
The biggest gains were recorded in education, where prices rose by 21.5 percent; and clothing and footwear, which was 10.2 percent more expensive, Arif Obaid Al Muhairi, chief executive of Dubai Statistics Center told UAE daily Al Khaleej.
Restaurants and hotels increased by 7.5 percent, drink and tobacco by 6.4 percent and healthcare by 5.8 percent.
The cost of housing fell 2.7 percent, while entertainment and culture declined 2.6 percent, according to the centre’s index.
At a time when Dubai is suffering a reduction in tourists and workers alike, rising costs is only going to make Dubai a less attractive place to work and live, and extend the economic malaise. That said, I would query the figures slightly - I am pretty sure the average housing cost fell more than 2.7% in the last year. My rent is half what the market level was last year and for those without children, this is the largest item of expenditure.
"Housing, Water, Electricity Gas and other Fuels" has a 44% weight on Dubai's consumer price index calculations and was recorded at an average of 5.6% for the year 2008. Same period when Colliers, JLL and other market watchdogs were reporting approximately 40% increase in rents. Same discrepencies exists in 2009 data as Dr Paul pointed out. This probably explains why the official inflation rate in 2008 was approx. 8% while independent international reports where estimating 20%. If same adjustments are applied to 2009, then we may have a significant deflation situation...