Consumer Price Index, the measure for inflation rate, declined (Year-on-Year) for the fourteenth consecutive month in March 2018. Headline inflation dropped to 13.34 percent1 – representing a marginal 0.99 percentage-points decrease, and lowest inflation rate in two years. The sub-indices moved in tandem with headline inflation as food inflation fell from 17.59 percent to 16.08 percent, while core inflation moderated to 11.20 percent, down slightly from 11.70 percent. The year-on-year decline is attributable to base effects of higher prices in corresponding month of 2017. Additionally, stable exchange rate moderated the impact of imported consumer goods prices2. Going forward, to stimulate further decline in both food and core inflation rates, it is necessary to promote investment in the agriculture sector as well as to foster policies that promote forex reserve growth and exchange rate stability.
Macroeconomic Report & Economic Updates
The considerable increase in inflation continued to be driven by exchange-rate-pass-through from imported items as well as the lingering scarcity in the availability of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). One of the key ways to reduce inflationary pressures in the near term is to improve the supply of PMS to filling stations. In the medium to long term, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) may need to revitalize local refining and bridge the gap between the supply and demand for PMS by households and businesses.
Recent NBS data shows a significant decline in power generated in 2016Q2. Precisely, power generated declined by 31 percent (quarter on quarter) from a total quarterly average of 92,352 MWH in 2016Q1 to 63,692.39 MWH in 2016Q2. Remarkably, the reoccurrences of pipeline vandalism in 2016Q2 prompted the shortage of gas for power generation. Thus, there were about eight recorded system collapses in the quarter which led to several days of power outages. However, subsequent quarterly declines in power generation could be averted if efforts to repair vandalized pipelines and adopt hydro sources are intensified.