By Martin Dokoupil
Consumer prices fall 0.2% month-on-month; eighth monthly fall in a row.
Qatar's deflation hit 5.65 percent year-on-year in January on a continued decline in rents, extending the series of consumer price falls, the Gulf country's statistics authority said on Saturday.
The global financial crisis slashed consumer prices across the Gulf Arab region last year from 2008 record peaks, with some oil producing countries such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates booking deflation in 2009.
Consumer prices in Qatar, the world's largest natural gas exporter, fell 4.9 percent last year, marking its first full-year of deflation since 1993, after price growth peaked at record 15.2 percent in 2008.
On the month, the consumer price index edged down 0.24 percent, after a decrease of 0.23 percent in December, falling for the eight month in a row, the data showed.
Consumer prices in the cash-rich state are expected to rise this year helped by food prices, but inflation should stay at low single-digit levels although Qatar's economy should largely outperform the fellow Gulf Arab oil producers. The rents and energy item, which accounts for 32 percent of the basket, fell 1.4 percent in January from the previous month, after a 0.5 percent fall in December, the data showed.
Transport prices, the second largest component, rose 0.3 percent month-on-month, down from a 1.3 percent increase in December, while food prices remained unchanged.
Qatar is expected to show inflation of 3.5 percent this year, a Reuters poll showed. (Reuters)