Food inflation was 16 per cent in July compared to 15.8 per cent in the previous month, according to the Central Statistics Department.

The index for housing, fuel and water costs rose by 19.8 per cent, compared to 18.7 per cent in the previous month. Rents alone were up 23.7 per cent.

Economists expect inflation to rise further over the next month as the the end of Ramadan traditionally coincides with increased consumption and retailers increasing their prices.

In June, inflation in the kingdom hit 10.6 per cent, rising from 10.4 per cent in May.