CAIRO, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's monthly inflation rate rose by 1.5 percent in April 2018 compared to March 2018 while the annual inflation rate declined from 13.1 percent to 12.9 percent during the same period, the country's official statistics agency said in a statement Thursday.
The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) referred the monthly inflation rise to price hikes in some commodities and products such as vegetables, meat and poultry, grain and bread, seafoods, teas, oils, dairy products and others.
On the other hand, the annual urban consumer price inflation decreased to 13.1 percent in April compared to 13.3 percent in March, according to the CAPMAS report.
Inflation rates massively rose in Egypt after the country devaluated its local currency in November 2016 to contain the shortage of U.S. dollars and start a strict three-year economic reform program based on austerity measures including fuel and energy subsidy cuts and tax hikes.
The liberalization of the Egyptian pound's exchange rate encouraged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support Egypt's economic reform plan by a 12-billion-dollar loan, half of which has been delivered to the North African country.
Egypt's annual inflation peaked in July 2017 when it neared 35 percent, but it gradually declined over the following months until it reached 12.9 percent in April 2018.
Economic expert Salwa al-Antary, ex-director of the National Bank of Egypt's research department, expects inflation to rise further as the government plans to implement another measure of fuel and energy subsidy cuts expected later this year.
"There are several factors that will lead to price hikes, including an anticipated price increase of oil products, electricity, water, transport and government services, which have already been announced by the government and these measures are core items of Egypt's deal with the IMF," the expert told Xinhua.
She explained that Egypt vows through its deal with the IMF to lift the subsidies for oil products excluding butane gas by June 2019.
"However, the expected rise of annual inflation rate may not be as high as 30 percent and 35 percent for these high rates were affected by the Egyptian pound floatation and sharp devaluation and the differences in its exchange rate against foreign currency are no longer that large," Antary said.
Egypt's reform program started to reflect positively on the country's economic performance, which led world financial institutions and research centers to expect the Egyptian economic growth to continue rising in the coming few years.
A recent report by the Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University has ranked Egypt as the world's third fastest growing economy in the coming decade after India and Uganda.
The CID's Global Growth Projections report expected Egypt's annual economic growth to reach 6.63 percent by 2026.
Similarly, an IMF report released in early May projected Egypt's growth to rise to 5.2 percent in fiscal year (FY) 2018, compared to 4.2 percent in the previous one, and further accelerate to 5.5 percent in FY 2019.