CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s annual inflation rate hit a new record high in August, as the cash-strapped country continues to battle price hikes and a depreciating currency, the Egyptian statistics bureau said Sunday.
The annual inflation rate reached 39.7% last month, up from 38.2% recorded in July, according to data released by the state-run Central Agency for Mobilization and Statistics. On a monthly basis, prices grew 1.6% last month, down from a prior 1.9% rise in July.
Prices in Egypt rose across many sectors, from food items and medical services to housing and furniture following the Russia-Ukraine war, which unleashed a wave of inflation across the globe.
The figures released Sunday morning showed that food prices, the main drivers of inflation, rose by over 70% in August compared to the same month last year. Grains, meat, poultry, fish, and fruit were among the products with the biggest price spikes.
The inflation rate in August more than doubled compared to the same month last year, when it recorded 15.3%. The surge is compounded by economic pressures, shortage of foreign currency and successive devaluation of the local currency.
The Egyptian pound lost more than 50% of its value against the dollar since the Russian war on Ukraine broke out in Feb. 2022. This has added further burdens on millions of Egyptians, who found their savings running low as the cost of living surged. About 30% of Egyptians are poor, according to official figures.
Egypt, the most populous Arab country with over 105 million people, is the world’s largest wheat importer. Most of its imports traditionally come from Ukraine and Russia.