Nigeria’s Inflation Accelerates to 9.1%, Economy Expands

Nigerian inflation accelerated to 9.1 percent in April, while the economy expanded 6.6 percent in the first quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

The inflation rate in Africa’s largest oil producer increased from 8.6 percent in March, the Abuja-based statistics office said today in an e-mailed report. The median estimate of six economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was 9.2 percent. Prices rose 0.6 percent in the month.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has kept its policy rate unchanged at a record high of 12 percent for nine consecutive meetings to curb inflation and support the naira. The Monetary Policy Committee is set to hold the rate again on May 21, according to all six economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Economic growth slowed from 7 percent in the fourth quarter, the statistics office said in a separate report.

The inflation rate fell below 10 percent in January, meeting the central bank’s target, as the impact of last year’s higher fuel prices waned. Consumer prices will probably remain between 9 and 11 percent this year, central bank Governor Lamido Sanusi said on March 24.

Votes for a cut within the 12-member MPC are rising, with three MPC members arguing for a reduction in the March 19 meeting, up from two in January.

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