People buy groceries in a supermarket in Zimbabwe"s capital Harare
People buy groceries in a supermarket in Zimbabwe"s capital Harare, March 26, 2009. REUTERS

Annual inflation in Kenya rose more than expected to 18.91 percent in October as food, electricity and fuel prices increased along with transport costs, but analysts said it was close to peaking.

Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said on Wednesday that the government expected the rate to start edging down this month on improving food supplies after the short rains season started on time. That would offer a respite to policymakers who have been under fire for most of this year for failing to control inflation.

The inflation rate rose for a 12 consecutive month in October, from 17.32 percent in September, the statistics office said on Friday.

The food and non-alcoholic drinks index went up by 1.68 percent between September and October after prices of sugar, beef, wheat flour, milk, rice and cooking fat increased, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.

Housing, water, electricity and fuel costs also rose, sending transport costs higher, it said.

The 18.9 percent reading is higher than our 18.1 percent forecast, but is still unlikely to prompt further action from the Central Bank of Kenya next week in our view, said Mark Bohlund economist at IHS Global Insight.

Increased rainfall, falling oil prices and the past week's strengthening of the shilling below 100 against the dollar have reinforced our view that inflation is now very close to its peak and should drop gradually over 2012.