DOHA: Qatar consumer prices rose 0.3 percent month-on-month in April, the third consecutive monthly increase and driven by rising food and transport prices and a slight recovery in housing costs, official data showed on Tuesday.
The world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter posted deflation of 3 percent year-on-year in April, steady with March levels. The data did not provide an annual breakdown of the consumer price index.
The housing, utilities and related services component of the index, the biggest component, fell 0.6 percent in April from March, compared to a 1.1 percent decline in the previous month.
The second-largest component, comprising transport and communication prices, rose 1.2 percent month-on-month, easing from a 1.3 percent rise in March, while food, beverages and tobacco prices rose 0.7 percent after being flat in the previous month.
"This is very good news. It’s a reflection that the demand pull is at work, an indication that the economy will expand. If it continues this way, it will fulfil our expectation that inflation will be about 4.5 percent this year," said one Doha-based economist who declined to be named.
The global downturn slashed consumer price growth across the Gulf Arab region last year from 2008 record peaks, turning inflation rates temporarily negative in some oil-producing countries such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Qatar’s economy is expected to outperform fellow Gulf oil energy producers with expected growth of 16.1 percent this year, due to continued expansion of gas output and government infrastructure spending.
Analysts polled by Reuters in April expected average inflation of 2.5 percent in 2010, after consumer prices slid 4.9 percent in 2009, the country’s first full year of deflation since 1993.