Cost of living in Qatar jumps in February
Qatar’s inflation rate reached its highest level in more than a year last month as residents found themselves paying more for recreational and housing expenses, newly released government figures have shown.
Consumer prices in Qatar were up 3.3 percent in February compared to a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDPS).
That’s the biggest reported jump since September 2014 and possibly even earlier.
However, direct comparisons from before fall 2014 cannot be made because the government has since changed how it calculates its figures, reducing the impact the country’s pricey housing market and effectively lowering the country’s inflation rate.
Last month’s increase was primarily driven by a jump in the cost of entertainment in Qatar.
According to the MDPS, the price of recreational and cultural activities climbed 9.4 percent from February 2014 and last month.
Recreation and culture also recorded the largest month-over-month increase, at 3 percent.
The ministry doesn’t identify the specific goods and services it uses to track the change in prices, leaving it unclear what is driving the spike.
However, many residents bought tickets last month for several premium entertainment events, such as a concert by Dutch DJ Tiesto and Shrek The Musical, both of which cost attendees several hundred riyals a person.
Elsewhere, the ministry’s figures suggested residential rental rates are continuing to rise, despite real estate experts recording a modest increase in vacancy.
According to the MDPS, the cost of housing, water, electricity and gas rose 0.4 percent between January and February.
Real estate services firm DTZ Qatar previously said that some landlords are still levying rent increases on their existing tenants even as they’re forced to offer discounts and lower rates to attract new renters.
February’s annualized inflation figure is higher than what economists previously said residents can expect through 2016.
Late last year, the government published a poll of 17 financial institutions that predicted, on average, that Qatar’s inflation rate would hover around 2.8 percent in 2016 and accelerate further to 3.1 percent next year.