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Posted On: 26 June 2009 02:05 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

More riyals go up in smoke than in buying newspapers

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People in Qatar spend more on smoking than reading newspapers and periodicals, consumer price index (CPI) figures released by Qatar Statistics Authority for May show, and disturbingly indicate that the cost of living has been on the rise. The prices of commodities and services had flattened out and actually showed a downward trend in February and March, but went up marginally in April and May. The rate of inflation in May was 0.6 percent, slightly up from 0.2 percent in the previous month. Prices actually showed negative growth during February and March. The price rise was fuelled by a marginal upward curve witnessed in house rents, medical care, transport and communications (phones and Internet) and entertainment charges. Food actually became a little cheaper last month. It is interesting to note that people here spend more on smoking than reading newspapers and periodicals as tobacco had a weight of 0.3 percent in its CPI for May which was 116.15, while the weight of dailies and periodicals in its monthly CPI (100.98) was 0.2 percent. Newspapers and magazines, in fact, accounted for the lowest share in average household expenditure. Likewise, people spend more on transport, phones and Internet than on food. While food accounted for a little over 12 percent in its monthly CPI of 130, the share of transport and communications in household expenses was a huge 20.5 percent. But house rents continue to dent the income, especially of expatriate families, as their weight in the CPI (142.69) averaged a soaring 31.3 percent. The expenses include house repair and water charges as well. Rents became marginally high in May as evidenced from the CPI of this category which rose slightly from 141.60 in April to 142.69 last month. Phones and Internet alone accounted for 5.5 percent of people’s monthly expenditure. Contrast this to an average of two percent that families generally spent on healthcare during the month. Figures also show that people rely more on private medical facilities than government hospitals and primary health centres. Average household expenses in May on private medical care were one percent, whereas the percentage in respect of government health facilities was half. Eating out does not generally seem to be a passion of families as the weight of restaurants, coffee shops and hotels in the CPI (120.40) was 3.7 percent in the month under review. QSA said it surveyed nearly 3,000 goods and services from over 500 sources across the country. The selection of these goods and services was based on the results of a household survey which began in 2006.