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Nigerian inflation slows for 13th consecutive month in Feb

Mar 14 2018 12:00
David Malingha Doya, Bloomberg

Doya - Nigeria’s inflation slowed for a 13th consecutive month in February, but may still be too high for the central bank to start cutting rates from a record.

Consumer-price growth in Africa’s most populous nation decelerated to 14.3% from 15.1% in January, the Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics said in an emailed statement. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey was 14.6%. Prices rose 0.8% in the month.

Governor Godwin Emefiele said last month the Central Bank of Nigeria may reduce its benchmark from a record-high 14% before July if inflation drops closer to single digits. Price growth has exceeded the target range of 6% to 9% for two-and-a-half years partly due to increasing fuel and food costs, as well as a weaker currency that raised prices of imported goods.

The cost of gasoline increased an average 15% to 172.5 naira in February from a year earlier, according to NBS, which collects data including pump prices that are above the government’s official cap of 145 naira per litre.

The Monetary Policy Committee is scheduled to meet March 19 to March 20 if at all, having missed its January gathering because it had insufficient members to form a quorum. That’s because lawmakers refused to confirm new members amid a political stalemate with President Muhammadu Buhari.

The committee has kept the policy rate at 14% since July 2016 as it tries to balance fighting inflation, propping up the naira, and supporting an economy that the International Monetary Fund forecast will expand 2.1% this year, strengthening a recovery after contracting in 2016.

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nigeria  |  inflation  |  africa economy
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