By Joseph INOKOTONG
Annual inflation fell to 17.26 percent in March, down from 17.78 percent in February, which was the first drop in 15 months.
This represents the second consecutive month of a decline in the headline Consumer Price Index (CPI), on a year on year basis.
The development shows the early effects of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), intervention on the currency market to meet demand for dollars.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), stated this in its latest CPI and Inflation Report releasedon Thursday in Abuja.
It explained that the decline represents “the effects of stabilizing prices in already high food and non-food prices as well as favourable base effects over 2016prices.”
The NBS further stated: “It is also indicative of early effects of a strengthened naira in the foreign exchange rate market.”
General price levels rose for the 12th straight month in January to its highest level in more than 11 years, as the country battles an economic recession, a currency crisis and dollar shortages, brought on by low oil prices, its mainstay.
The NBS said “price Increases were recorded in all COICOP divisions that yield the Headline Index.
“However, the major divisions responsible for accelerating the pace of the increase in the headline index were Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuel, Education, Food and Alcoholic Beverages, Clothing and Footware and Transportation Services.
“On a month-on-month basis, the Headline index increased by 1.72 percent in March 2017, 0.23 percent points higher from the rate recorded in February. The Food Index increased by 18.44 percent (year-on-year) in March, slightly down 0.09 percent points from rate recorded in February (18.53) percent driven by increases in the prices of bread, cereals, meat, fish, potatoes, yams and other tubers and wine, while the slowest increase in food prices year on year were recorded by Soft Drinks, Fruits, Coffee, Tea and Cocoa.”