Bicycles, other transport drive Nigeria inflation in April
INTERNATIONAL - Nigeria consumer prices rose at the same pace in April as in March despite disruptions to economic activity due to the coronavirus pandemic and the impact of a weakened currency on prices.
Inflation was unchanged at 12.3%, the Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics said in a report published on its website Thursday. The median of three economists’ estimates in a Bloomberg survey was 12.3%. Costs increased 1.02% in the month and annual food inflation accelerated to 15%, the highest since March 2018.
The highest increases were recorded in prices of bicycles, passenger transport, paramedical services, hospital services, pharmaceutical products, medical services, motor cycles and major household appliances, the statistics agency said.
A new sub-index for imported food has been introduced in the consumer-price index, according to the statistics agency.
Persistently high inflation in Africa’s largest economy will likely see the central bank keep the key interest rate at 13.5% next week, even as it seek to stimulate business activity.
The International Monetary Fund projects gross domestic product will contract by 3.4% this year, the most since 1983, according to the World Bank.
Inflation has remained above the central bank’s target band of 9% for five years and will likely continue to accelerate as border closures, which sought to curb smuggling of rice and other products, have been expanded due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The West African nation has been hit hard by the pandemic and the slump in the price of oil, the nation’s top export, which accounts for about half of government revenues and 90% of foreign-exchange income. The budget deficit could widen to 6.8% of GDP this year from 4.8% in 2019, according to the IMF.