By Martin Dokoupil
Annual inflation picks up to 1.7% in Jan on rise in transport prices and rents.
Oman's annual inflation accelerated to a five-month high of 1.7 percent in January on a rise in transport prices and rents, data from the Gulf oil producer showed on Sunday.The global downturn slashed price growth across the world's largest oil exporting region last year from record, double-digit peaks in 2008, with some countries such as the UAE and Qatar experiencing deflation.
Annual inflation in non-OPEC member Oman started picking up in December, when it rebounded to 0.9 percent from a low of 0.8 percent in the previous month. It is still well below a record high of 13.7 percent in June, 2008.
The consumer price index in the Gulf sultanate rose by 0.6 percent month-on-month in January, the fastest rise since August 2009, after a 0.2 percent increase in the previous month, the economy ministry data showed.
Transport prices, which account for 22 percent of the basket, jumped 2.9 percent in January compared with the previous month, following a 0.2 percent rise in December.
The rents and energy items, which has a similar weight, rose 0.8 percent after staying flat in the previous month. Food prices, which account for 30 percent of the basket, eased 0.3 percent, after increasing by 0.9 percent in December.
Oman's consumer prices soared in 2008 on imported inflation as a result of the weak US dollar, which the rial currency is pegged to. Analysts have forecast Oman's inflation at 4.0 percent this year, after 3.4 percent in 2009. (Getty Images)