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Business News of Friday, 13 February 2009

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Annual inflation surges to 5-year high

Accra, Feb 13, GNA - The inflation rate rose to 19.86 percent in January compared to 18.13 percent a month earlier, Mr Ebo Duncan, Head of the Economic Statistics Unit, said on Friday. The rate of inflation in January 2009 is the highest since February 2004.

Mr Duncan attributed the 1.73 percentage points increase in the rate to the depreciation of the cedi against major international currencies, the high import level and the fact that the country is now in the lean season.

"We expect that the rate of inflation may go up in February as food prices are going up, and the cedi is depreciating against major currencies," Mr Duncan said.

The month-to-month change, which is the change in the CPI from previous month to the current month, recorded a rate of 2.64 percent. That of December 2008 was 2.42 percent.

Mr Duncan said the level of inflation in January 2009 continued to be higher for the non-food group than the food group. The contribution of the non-food and food groups in January stood at 11.11 and 8.75 percent respectively.

In the non-food group the contributions of hotels, caf=E9s and restaurants; clothing and footwear, and housing, utilities sub-groups were highest in price change, contributing more than one percentage point to the annual rate of inflation.

Fish, bread and cereals sub-groups continue to contribute the largest to price change in the food group.

Inflation rates recorded in the regions range from 24.85 percent in the Northern region to 13.79 percent in the Volta Region. Five regions recorded inflation rates above the national rate of 19.86 percent.