Saudi Arabia's annual inflation rate held at 1.6% in April, the same as the previous month, government data showed on Wednesday, underpinned once again by an increase in housing rents.

Prices in the subcategory of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels rose by 8.7% from a year earlier, according to the General Authority for Statistics, with housing rents surging by 10.4% year on year.

Food and beverage prices rose 0.8% year on year while prices for restaurants and hotels increased 2%.

But prices for vehicles declined almost 3% in April from the previous year, bringing down overall transport costs by 1.6%, while clothing and footwear prices fell by 4.2%.

On a month-on-month basis, prices increased 0.3% in April from March, with housing rents and prices the main driver.

Inflation has remained relatively low in Saudi Arabia compared with global levels, and below 2% year to date, with government policies helping limit the impact of international price increases.

(Reporting by Rachna Uppal; Editing by Andrew Heavens)