LAGOS (Reuters) – Annual inflation in Nigeria rose for the sixth straight month to a near two-year high, the statistics office said on Tuesday, as the impact of the country’s closed borders continued to be felt.
Inflation stood at 12.20% in February, compared with 12.13% in the previous month. It is the highest inflation rate since April 2018, when it stood at 12.48%.
A separate food price index showed inflation at 14.90% in February, compared with 14.85% in January.
“This rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, fish, meat, vegetables, and oils and fats,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in its report.
Nigeria closed parts of its borders in August to fight smuggling of rice and other goods. Economists say the move has driven inflation as local food producers have struggled to meet demand for food in the country of around 200 million people, Africa’s most populous.
The central bank monetary policy committee will meet next week to set its benchmark interest rate. It had said it expected to keep monetary policy tight in 2020 to combat inflation and support the currency amidst slow growth of around 2%.
But Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer, has been hit hard by low oil prices and the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on China, with which it has close trade ties.
(Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram and Bangalore Newsroom; Editing by Catherine Evans)
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