CAIRO - Egypt's annual urban consumer inflation rate in May accelerated to 32.7% from 30.6% in April, data from the country's statistics agency CAPMAS showed on Saturday, approaching an all-time record and higher than analysts had expected.

Month-on-month, urban inflation increased to 2.7% from 1.7% in April.

Inflation has risen sharply over the last year after a series of currency devaluations starting in March 2022, a prolonged shortage of foreign currency and continuing delays in getting imports into the country.

The annual figure is close to an all-time peak of 32.952% in July 2017.

The median forecast of 13 analysts polled had suggested consumer inflation would climb to 31.4% in May.

The higher-than-expected inflation was "driven largely by higher food prices. The food and beverage index jumped 4.7% month on month compared to 2.2% in April," said Allen Sandeep of Naeem Brokerage, who had forecast 31.5%.

"Our view is that this is explained by hikes in some ration card items and indirectly by the increase in diesel, which impacted transportation costs."

Egypt has devalued its currency by half since March 2022 after fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine exposed its economic vulnerabilities. The government secured a $3 billion financial support package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in December.

(Reporting by Farah Saafan; Writing by Muhammad Al Gebaly and Patrick Werr; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Alex Richardson)