Food prices cause inflation to hit near two-year high in January
The report shows that increase in food prices has forced Nigeria’s inflation for the month of January 2020 to hit 12.13 percent, 0.15 percent points higher than the rate recorded in December 2019 (11.98 percent) marking the fifth straight month of increases.
Nigeria closed parts of its borders in August to fight smuggling of rice and other goods, but economists say the move has driven inflation. In October, the head of customs confirmed that all trade in goods via land borders had been halted indefinitely.
The consumer inflation rate in January was the highest since April 2018, when it stood at 12.48%. Inflation had dropped to its lowest in almost four years in August but has risen steadily in the wake of the border closures.
A separate food price index showed inflation at 14.85% in January, compared with 14.67% in the previous month.
“This rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, meat, oils and fats, potatoes, yam and other tubers and fish,” the statistics office said in its report.
The central bank of Nigeria, CBN, has said it expects to keep monetary policy tight in 2020 to combat inflation and support the currency amidst slow growth. The bank, which has targeted single-digit inflation, held its main interest rate at 13.5% at its last meeting, in January.
It revealed that the rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of Bread and Cereals, Meat, Oils and fats, Potatoes, yam and other tubers and Fish.
“In January 2020, food inflation on a year on year basis was highest in Sokoto (19.08%), Ogun (18.72%) and Nasarawa (17.07%), while Bayelsa (12.91%), Delta (11.57%) and Benue (11.33%) recorded the slowest rise.”
On a month on month basis, food inflation was highest in Ondo (2.95%), Anambra (2.61%) and Abuja (2.57%), while Benue, Kogi and River recorded price deflation.
Meanwhile, urban inflation rate increased by 12.78 percent in January 2020, while the rural inflation rate increased by 11.54 percent in the same month in review.