Annual inflation in Nigeria stood at 14.33 percent 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 percent in February, compared with 18.92 percent in January. Core inflation was 15.13 percent 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. [nL8N1PB58Y]
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.
Nigeria’s upper house of parliament 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. [nL8N1QV5Y7]
The bank has kept its main interest rate at 14 percent for over a year now as it battles inflation and seeks to attract foreign investors to support the naira currency.
But economists see the central bank this year adopting a more dovish stance as inflation falls, and expect an interest rate cut in the coming months.
Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha and Paul Carsten in Abuja; Editing by Catherine Evans