Nigerian inflation quickened in March to its highest in five months on rising food prices, fuel shortages and supply shocks caused by the war in Ukraine.
Consumer prices rose 15.9% from a year earlier, compared with 15.7% in February, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on its website. That narrowly exceeded the median estimate of 15.8% from 10 economists in a Bloomberg survey.
The headline number has now topped the ceiling of the central bank’s 6% to 9% target band for almost seven years. Still, it’s unlikely to persuade rate-setters to increase interest rates on May 24.
Governor Godwin Emefiele has reiterated since last year that the central bank will only make policy adjustments once the economy’s recovery is on a sustainable path.
Choked supply chains, partly due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and an almost 100% increase in gasoline prices this year, are placing upward price pressures on Africa’s largest economy. They are also hindering its recovery, as are security challenges in its northern regions and persistent oil production troubles.
Nigeria last week lowered its revenue targets and widened its budget deficit forecasts. An index measuring business sentiment declined to 54.1 in March from 57.3 the previous month, according to a survey of purchasing managers by S&P Global and Stanbic IBTC Bank.
Food-price growth accelerated to 17.2% from 17.1% and core inflation decelerated to 13.9%, compared with 14% a month prior. Prices climbed 1.74% over the previous month.