Inflation in Saudi Arabia hit 5.4 per cent in February, the highest level for 14 months, according to data from the Central Department of Statistics.

The figure was released by the Saudi Press Agency, quoting the Central Department of Statistics. It added that rising food prices and housing costs were the main reason for the increase in inflation.

Compared with the previous month, prices rose by 0.3 per cent. Food prices were up 0.5 per cent and housing prices up 0.7 per cent. Rising food prices stem from international inflationary pressures, but the increase in housing costs indicates the Saudi real estate sector is still suffering from under-capacity and strong demand growth.

Inflation in Saudi Arabia peaked at 11.1 per cent in July 2008.