Naira depreciation pushes Nigeria’s annual CPI inflation up to 8.2% in January

By bne IntelliNews February 16, 2015

Nigeria’s annual consumer price inflation quickened to 8.2% in January from 8.0% the month before, data from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed. The reading remained within the central bank’s 6%-9% target band for the 21th straight month.

The NBS commented that food prices remained stable last month, whereas “upward pressure on the headline index was largely as a result of increasing divisions that contribute to the core sub-index”. This is likely related to the recent significant depreciation of the local naira currency amid macroeconomic headwinds stemming from the oil price drop and political tensions.

The annual core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural products, accelerated from an 18-month low of 6.2% in December to 6.8% last month, as prices increased at a faster pace in most major non-food divisions such as housing, furnishings, and clothing and footwear.

The annual food inflation (measured by the food sub-index, which includes farm produce and processed food) steadied at 9.2% last month, slightly above a more than three-year low of 9.1% in November.

Compared to the previous month, Nigeria’s consumer prices rose 0.81% in January, easing from December’s 0.82% increase. Monthly food inflation steadied at 0.9%, and monthly core inflation decelerated to 0.7% from 0.8%.

The average inflation for the 12-month period to end-January was 8.1%, up from 8.0% in the preceding eight months, with average food and core inflation both unchanged from December at 9.5% and 6.9%, respectively.

In its latest monetary policy statement last month, Nigeria’s central bank noted that upside risks to inflation include higher import prices due to the naira depreciation and possible food supply bottlenecks linked to insurgency and insecurity in some major agricultural zones of the country. In addition, the inflation outlook is subject to the recurring challenge of excess liquidity in the banking system and possible complications arising from capital flow reversal, it said.

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