Inflation in Saudi Arabia has remained stable at 4.1 per cent in January, compared to 4.2 per cent in the previous month, according to the latest official statistics.

The figures show rent, fuel and housing services costs rose by 0.9 per cent, compared to December, and were up 11.6 per cent compared to January 2009.

Food and beverage costs increased 0.3 per cent from December, and were up 2.2 per cent from January 2009.

The central bank said in its inflation outlook, released on 21 February, that rental prices will continue to drive inflation in the first quarter but that food prices would stabilise. Food and beverages account for 26 per cent of the cost of living index. Rent, fuel and water costs account for a further 18 per cent.

Banque Saudi Fransi is forecasting that inflation in the kingdom will average 4.3 per cent in 2010, down from 5.1 per cent in 2009.