Although rents have fallen in Abu Dhabi over the last year, the rise in food prices and education costs have increased cost of living for residents, who say they are feeling the pinch. The Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi (Scad) recorded a 1.7 per cent rate of average annual inflation as of January this year. Compared to January last year, this inflation rate represents an increase of 0.8 per cent in average consumer prices. Any rise in the prices of essential commodities like food naturally causes people with lower income levels to have to spend a greater portion of their earnings, explained Giyas Gokkent, group chief economist at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. According to the Scad report, households with the lowest one-third income levels in the emirate of Abu Dhabi faced a price rise of 1.1 per cent between January 2011 and January 2012, compared to just a 0.6 per cent rise for households with the highest one-third of income levels.