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Business News of Friday, 17 January 2014

Source: B&FT

Consumer price index in 4-year record high

The increase in the average cost of living for Ghanaians as measured by consumer price index (CPI) inflation jumped to its highest in nearly four years in the month of December, driven by surging utility bills and transport costs which have been piling pressure on workers’ income.

Annual inflation rose from 13.2 per cent in November to 13.5 percent last month, according to the Ghana Statistical Service. This means a basket of goods and services that cost GHG100 in December 2012 would have cost GH¢113.20 last month. The inflation rate has not been higher since February 2010.

Utilities and housing costs, which rose by 35 per cent year-on-year in December, have continued to rise in the New Year following hikes of 9.7 per cent in the price of electricity and 6.8 percent for water at the start of January.

Compounding the squeeze on households, the prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas (liquefied petroleum gas) were increased from Thursday in a move by the National Petroleum Authority to match the retail prices of the fuels with the mounting cost of importation due to a higher international crude oil price and a weakening cedi.

Petrol jumped by 6 percent to GH¢2.33 per litre, diesel by 7 per cent to G H¢ 2.42 per litre liquefied petroleum gas by 9 percent to GH¢2.74 per kilogramme, and kerosene by 19 per cent to GH¢2.42 per litre.

Analysts forecast last year that households living costs would soar in 2014 as universal energy subsidies were completely eliminated and the value added tax was increased from 15 per cent to 17.5 per cent.