Saudi Nov inflation unchanged at 5.8 pct yr/yr

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JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation remained unchanged from the previous month at 5.8 percent in November, state news agency SPA said late on Saturday, underpinned by rising housing and transport costs.

Monthly inflation in the biggest Arab economy and the world’s top oil exporter stood at 0.3 percent in November, down from 0.5 percent in the previous month.

"Goods, services and housing are the contributing factors to inflationary pressures for the month of November … but going forward there should be a bit of a decline," said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi.

Housing costs rose 0.5 percent month-on-month, compared to a 0.6 percent increase in October.

Food prices, which have the largest weighting of 26 percent in the consumer price basket, rose 0.3 percent month-on-month in November, down from a 1.6 percent rise in the previous month.

Analysts polled by Reuters expect average inflation of 5.3 percent this year and 5.1 percent in 2011 , still well below a record high of 11.1 percent in July 2008.

Inflation in Saudi Arabia had been on the decline since reaching an 18-month high of 6.1 percent in August. The central bank says it is not yet a concern.

Saudi Arabia’s economy is seen expanding by 3.8 percent this year, following a 0.6 percent expansion in 2009, helped by recovery in crude prices and generous government spending.

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