* Inflation pushed higher by rising cereal prices
* High inflation a problem in region
By Aaron Maasho
ADDIS ABABA, Sept 13 (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s year-on-year inflation jumped to 40.6 percent in August from 39.2 percent a month before as food prices rose, especially for cereals, the statistics office said on Tuesday.
Food prices account for 57 percent of the consumer price index.
“The total price index of cereals in August 2011 has increased by 52.3 percent as compared to the similar month last year which significantly contributed to the rise in the indices of food and the general consumer price index,” the statistics office said in a statement.
“Relative rises were observed in the indices of most of the components of food.”
Inflation has become a major problem across the east and horn of Africa this year, as poor rains have hurt farming while global oil prices have surged. The International Monetary Fund, which expects Ethiopia’s economy to grow 7.5 percent this year, says inflation is the country’s main macroeconomic challenge. (Editing by George Obulutsa/Ruth Pitchford)