Inflation drops to 14.33% – NBS

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By Joseph INOKOTONG

Inflation in Nigeria stood at 14.33 per cent in February, slowing for the 13th month in a row, and driven by a decline in the pace of food price increases, the statistics office said on Wednesday.

The food price index showed inflation at 17.59 per cent in February, compared with 18.92 per cent in January. Core inflation was 15.13 per cent last month.

NBS head Yemi Kale said in January he expects inflation to fall faster this year compared with 2017, but that spending ahead of 2019 presidential elections could stoke prices as food price inflation has remained in high double digits over the last year.

Kale has said the country is in a harvest period and output is increasing, which would help lower food prices, but household consumption remains fragile after the 2016 recession.

A stand-off that has affected Nigeria’s ability to set interest rates may also be coming to an end, with the possibility of a rate-setting meeting as early as next Tuesday.

This is because the Senate has said it will start screening new members of the Central Bank’s interest rate committee after it held up some of President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees in a political spat.

The bank has kept its main interest rate at 14 per cent for over a year now as it battles inflation and seeks to attract foreign investors to support the naira currency.