Nigeria Stocks Fall to Five-Week Low on Rate Increase Bets

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s All-Share Index fell to the lowest in five weeks as investors speculated the central bank will raise interest rates today.

The gauge dropped 1.5 percent to 19,999.99, its lowest value since Oct. 14, by the 2:30 p.m. close in Lagos, bringing its total loss this year to 19 percent.

Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee left the benchmark lending rate unchanged at 12 percent with the full impact of past increases yet to be felt, central bank Governor Lamido Sanusi announced today in Abuja, the capital, after the market had closed.

Though Nigerian stocks have been decline this year, the trend “is consistent with trends globally in a very uncertain world where fund managers have resorted to a flight to safety,” Sanusi said.

Inflation in Nigeria rose to 10.5 percent in October, higher than the bank’s 10 percent target, Yemi Kale, Nigeria’s statistician-general, said on Nov. 15. The central bank, which has sought a stable foreign exchange rate to curb inflation, today lowered the midpoint for its official exchange rate to 155 naira per dollar from 150 naira.

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