DUBAI - Saudi Arabia's consumer price index rose 2.2% in May from a year earlier, government data showed on Wednesday, slowing from a 2.3% pace in April.

The food and beverages segment rose 4.2% and transport prices were up 4%, the General Authority for Statistics said in a statement.

"Food and beverages prices were the main driver of the inflation rate in May 2022 due to their high relative importance in the Saudi consumer basket (with a weight of 18.8%)," it said.

The Saudi inflation rate increased by 0.1% in May from April, the month-on-month data showed.

"Looking ahead, we think that the headline rate will pick up over the coming months," said James Swanston, Middle East and North Africa economist at Capital Economics.

"The spillovers from the war in Ukraine will keep global food prices elevated and we expect the headline rate to peak at just under 3% (year-on-year) in July."

Saudi consumers are also partly shielded from the higher impact of oil prices after the government put a cap on petrol prices when oil breaches $70 to contain inflation, Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said last month.

(Reporting by Saeed Azhar, Editing by Andrew Heavens, William Maclean)