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Mon 26 Jan 2009 01:09 PM

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Saudi expects inflation to ease in 2009

Arab kingdom eyes lower inflation on back of declining prices of basic goods, world over.

Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf said he expected inflation in the kingdom to ease further following a decline at the end of 2008, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

The agency said Assaf expected the "decline in inflation to continue for reasons including the decline in the prices of basic goods around the world", but did not give a forecast or a timeframe.

Annual inflation in Saudi Arabia eased to 9 percent in December from 9.5 percent in November. The cost of living index of the largest Arab economy was 120.1 points on Dec. 31 compared with 119.9 points on Nov. 30.

The finance ministry said in December that inflation in 2008 was estimated at 9.2 percent. (Reuters)

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