Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate inched up to 3.4% in January from 3.3% in December, with price rises again driven mainly by housing costs, government data showed on Wednesday.

Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, with a 25.5% weight of the consumer basket, the largest category, rose 6.6% from a year earlier.

“Actual rents for housing increased by 7.7% in January 2023, reflecting the increase in rents for apartments by 19.3%,” Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics said.

Food and beverage prices, which were the main driver of inflation during much of 2022, rose 4.2% from a year earlier.

Compared to December, consumer prices rose 0.2%, the statistics agency said.

“The monthly CPI was affected by the increase in housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels prices by 0.8%, as a result of the increase in actual rentals for housing by 1.0%” compared to December, it said.

“Food and beverages prices increased by 0.5%, mainly due to the increase in food prices by 0.4%, restaurants and hotels prices increased by 0.3%, personal goods and services increased by 0.1%, and furnishings, household equipment & maintenance increased by 0.2%.”

Transport prices were down 0.3% in January from December, clothing and footwear prices fell 0.7% and communication was down 0.7%.

With the exception of July 2020 to June 2021 – when inflation spiked following a tripling of value-added tax to 15% – inflation is the highest since July 2016, according to Refinitiv data.