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Sun 31 Jan 2010 11:05 AM

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Saudi inflation rate averaged 5.06% in 2009

Largest economy in Arab world sees rate drop from 9.9% in previous year.

Inflation in Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the Arab world, showed to an average of 5.06 percent last year, official figures showed on Sunday.

The central department of statistics said on its website on Sunday that the rate fell from 9.9 percent in the previous year, newswire Bloomberg reported.

The global crisis cut inflation rates across the Gulf Arab region from 2008 record highs, with some countries such as the UAE and Qatar experiencing falling prices.

Price pressures are seen rising again as key players in the world's top oil exporting region recover but inflation is expected to stay in low single digits this year across the Gulf.

Saudi inflation hit a record high of 11.1 percent in July 2008.

Central bank governor Muhammad al-Jasser said in a January 23 interview that he’s not planning to raise rates because inflation isn’t a concern and demand isn’t strong enough to require higher borrowing costs.

Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf told an investors’ conference in Riyadh last week that “continuous stimulus” is needed even as the economy rebounds from last year’s stagnation.

Saudi Arabia’s economy will grow more than 4 percent in 2010 after expanding less than 0.2 percent last year, the finance minister said last week. Gross domestic product increased 4.3 percent in 2008.

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