Cost of Living Rises Sharply

A sharp, unexpected 2.6 percent hike in the cost-of-living index for April came as an unpleasant surprise to Treasury officials when it was announced Monday.

They hastened to blame seasonal factors, not economic measures taken by the government.

The figures, reported by the Central Bureau of Statistics, were well above the less than 2 percent rise anticipated for the month. Inflation is now running at an annual rate of 9.4 percent.

The price index would have been kept within “reasonable limits,” Treasury officials said, were it not for seasonal rises in the prices of clothing, footwear, fruits and vegetables.

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