Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Climbs to 9.5% in February

Nigeria’s inflation rate climbed to 9.5 percent in February, the statistics agency said.

Inflation in Africa’s largest oil producer accelerated from 9 percent in January, the Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The median estimate of six economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was 9.6 percent. Prices rose 0.8 percent in the month.

The Monetary Policy Committee has kept its benchmark interest rate at a record 12 percent for eight consecutive meetings to curb prices and support the naira. Inflation eased below 10 percent, meeting the central bank’s target, in January after a jump in fuel prices in the same month last year fell out of the calculation. Governor Lamido Sanusi said on Jan. 25 it will be “very difficult” to keep it at that rate for the rest of the year.

The MPC will probably hold off on cutting interest rates until it’s sure lower borrowing costs won’t compromise “achievements” by the bank, Sanusi said. Policy makers will make their next rate decision on March 19.

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