- CBN may now cut lending rate
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Thursday that the country’s Consumer Price Index which measures inflation trend came down to 13.34 per cent (year-on-year) for the month of March 2018.
According to the bureau’s report, the 13.34 per cent rate for March is 0.99 percentage points less than the 14.33 per cent recorded in February.
The report said this is the fourteenth consecutive months since January 2017 that the country would be experiencing slowdown in inflation.
The report says: “The Consumer Price Index which measures inflation increased by 13.34 per cent (year-on-year) in March 2018.
“This fourteenth consecutive disinflation since January 2017 is 0.99 percent points less than the rate recorded in February 2018 (14.33) per cent.
“The Composite Food Index rose by 16.08 per cent (year on year) in March 2018, down from the rate recorded in February (17.59 percent).”
The cost of gasoline climbed to an average 9.4 percent in March to 163.4 naira ($0.46) a liter (0.3 gallon) from a year earlier, said the bureau, whose data includes unofficial pump prices. Nigeria currently caps gasoline retail prices at 145 naira per liter.
With this current development, it is expected that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would in its next Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting effect a cut in the lending rate.
The CBN left its main lending rate at a record high of 14 per cent when MPC met April 4. This was meant to continue fighting inflation that’s been above the target range of 6 per cent to 9 per cent for more than 2 1/2 years.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele said the bank would consider cutting rates from where they have been since July 2016 when inflation slows closer to single digits.