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Inflation hits highest rate in 15 months

On the increase: rising school tuition costs were a major driver in the rising cost of living

The cost of living rose in September at the highest rate in more than a year.

Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, hit 2 per cent with education, healthcare and food costs the main contributors to the increase.

The Department of Statistics reported that the Education, Recreation, Entertainment and Reading sector was the largest contributor to the year-over-year change, increasing 4.3 per cent. This was driven by a sharp rise in the cost of school tuition, which rose 3.9 per cent locally on a month-to-month basis and 2.7 per cent overseas.

Inflation has been muted over the past year and a half, helped by a fall in the price of oil, and this was the first reading of 2 per cent or more since June 2015.

Health and personal care costs rose 3.7 per cent year over year, while food cost consumers 1.9 per cent more than a year earlier.

In the month-to-month analysis, fuel and power prices rose 6 per cent, as the fuel adjustment rate on Belco bills jumped 20 per cent. The rate, which is dependent on the price of the fuel oil that Belco burns and which was 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour in September, has since then fallen and is 9.5 cents for November.

The transport and foreign travel sector also saw prices surge 4.5 per cent, bouncing back from a 4.3 per cent decrease in August. The average cost of air fares rocketed 13.6 per cent, while overseas accommodation climbed 13.2 per cent.

Food prices inched 0.1 per cent higher from August to September, driven by increases in the cost of onions (4.4 per cent), oranges (4.2 per cent) and fresh tenderloin (2.7 per cent).

Another notable rise in the report was a 1.6 per cent month-to-month rise in child care fees.