CAIRO/RIYADH (Reuters) -Saudi Arabia's annual inflation rate remained at 1.6% for the third month running in May, government data showed on Sunday, with higher housing rents still the main driver.

Housing rents rose 10.5% from a year earlier underpinned by a 14.3% rise in apartment rents, according to the General Authority for Statistics.

Overall, prices in the subcategory of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels rose 8.7% from the previous year.

Food and beverage prices rose 1.4% year on year, while prices for hotels and restaurants rose by 2.5% driven by a 1.9% increase in the price of food services.

Prices of clothing and footwear fell 4% from the previous year, and vehicle purchase prices dropped 4.1% to bring overall transportation costs down by 2.4%.

On a monthly basis, prices rose 0.2% in May from April.

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

(Reporting by Adam Makary, Pesha MagidEditing by Frances Kerry, Kirsten Donovan)