Rising food and transport costs pushed annual inflation in Qatar to a four-month high of 1.8 per cent in June, data showed yesterday. Inflation returned to the Gulf nation last December after a long period of falling prices. Consumer prices increased by 0.1 per cent on the month, slightly lower than a 0.2 per cent rise in May, data from Qatar\'s Statistics Authority showed. \"Higher food prices are pushing up inflation across the region, but overall inflation seems to be remaining low in most countries,\" said Daniel Kaye, senior economist at the National Bank of Kuwait. Article continues below Benign inflation \"Inflation conditions beyond food are reasonably benign. In general, housing costs aren\'t rising very quickly. The moderate pace of economic growth in the region might push inflation up as the year goes on and into next year,\" he said. Food prices, which make up 13.2 per cent of the CPI basket, were up by 0.9 per cent month-on-month in June after a 0.2 per cent increase in May. Transport prices, which make up 20.5 per cent of the basket, increased by 0.7 per cent month-on-month in June after edging higher by 0.4 per cent in the previous month. The rents, fuel and energy component dipped by 1.0 per cent due to an increase in the supply of rental properties. \"Rents are still having a negative effect overall and this seems to suggest that the property oversupply situation has further to run. Although I do expect that the pace of declines will probably ease as we go on,\" Kaye said. Average growth A Reuters poll last month showed that analysts expected the average price growth of Qatar this year to be around 3.2 per cent. The Qatari economy is powering ahead with the central bank expecting 18 per cent growth this year. The government plans to spend over $125 billion (Dh459 billion) in the next five years on developments, including construction and energy projects.