February Inflation Rises To 9.5%

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Nigeria’s inflation rate climbed to 9.5 per cent in February, as a result of a rise in the prices of farm produce, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.

According to the Consumer Price Index Report for February released by the statistics agency yesterday, “relative to January, the rise in the headline index could be attributed to increases in farm produce prices due to limited supplies.”

Inflation had dropped significantly in January 2013 to nine per cent from the December 2012 figure of 12 per cent after a jump in fuel prices in the same month last year fell out of the calculation. The NBS, however, noted that with “the toll of inventory accumulated during the previous harvest period, draw downs may begin to take effect.”

The report revealed that on a month-on-month basis, food index increased by 0.7 per cent from January to February. Higher prices were observed across all classes in the food sub-index, with the fastest rising prices observed in the vegetables and fish classes. However, the largest determinants of the increase in the food index were bread and cereals, meat, fish, poultry and dairy products (milk, cheese and eggs).

Urban composite CPI was recorded at 142.0 in February, which was a 9.8 per cent year-on-year change. This was higher than the 9.2 per cent recorded in January, as the corresponding rural composite CPI recorded a 9.5 per cent year-on-year change, up from 9.1 per cent in January.

“On a month-on-month basis, the Urban All-item index increased by 0.9 per cent from levels recorded in January, while the Rural All-item index increased from levels recorded in January by 0.7 per cent”, the NBS said.

Analysts expect that with inflation rate down to single digit the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will at its policy meeting scheduled for today bring down benchmark lending rates, which it had consistently held at 12 per cent.

CBN Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, said the MPC will probably hold off on cutting interest rates until it’s sure lower borrowing costs won’t compromise “achievements” by the bank.

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