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
Latest figures of FDI flows to Nigeria show a decline of 27 per cent from $4.7 billion in 2014 to $3.4 billion in 20152, representing its lowest value since 2005. This decline is largely attributed to the oil price slump, which has generally increased uncertainty in the economy, with adverse effects on investors confidence. The fall in FDI flows was witnessed in most resource based economies in Africa, as FDI flows to the continent fell by 31 percent in 2015. The forex controls in place in Nigeria has also exacerbated the uncertainty in economy, and created obstacles for both domestic and foreign investors. Thus a review of the forex restrictions could send positive signals to investors.
Recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that the value of capital imported to Nigeria declined by 54.34 percent; from $1.56 billion 2015Q4to $710.97 million in 2016Q11. This is the lowest value since the data was first released in 2007. Huge declines in Portfolio Investment (71.54 percent) and other Investment (44.84 percent) were the major drivers of the trend within the period. A myriad of factors have contributed to the decline in investments. The plunge in crude oil prices, and the resultant negative signals on investors confidence, was a key factor. This was exacerbated by the FOREX restrictions and delays in the assentation of 2016 Appropriation Bill. While the slight increases in oil prices and the recent signing of the budget into law could improve the general economic prospects, monetary authorities need to proffer solutions to the negative effects of the current FOREX restrictions on investments.