The increase constitutes a significant rise on the January inflation figure of 6.99 per cent. Rent prices increased by 18 per cent during the year to the end of February, while food costs rose by 13 per cent.

Historically inflation in Saudi Arabia has been around the 3 per cent level, however, it is now nearly in double figures, and is quickly catching up to the level seen in the UAE and Qatar, which have the highest inflation rates in the GCC of around 11 per cent and 14 per cent respectively for 2007.

The Saudi government released the figures just days after the US Federal Reserve cut the interest rate to 2.25 per cent, which the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority quickly matched by cutting Saudi domestic rates. This will put further pressure on domestic inflation.