Inflation rate rose in December 2018 for the second consecutive month to 11.44 percent, 0.16 percentage points higher than the 11.28 percent recorded in November 2018.1 The rise in inflation was driven by the food component of inflation which increased to 13.56 percent from 13.30 percent within the same period. Further disaggregated data shows that the highest increments were recorded in the price of basic food items such as bread, cereals, fish, meat, potatoes, yam and other tubers. Core inflation experienced no increment from the previous month, stagnating at 9.80 percent. Seasonal demand effect is closely linked to the rise in inflation given that the holiday season is associated with a rise in the price of food items. In the coming month, we expect the inflation rate to continue on the upward trend considering the increase in election-related spending. The current monetary policy parameters should remain unchanged until a clearer picture of the effect of the election on economic indicators is known
Macroeconomic Report & Economic Updates
Crude oil price continued to increase in the period under review, reaching its 2016 peak at $50.30 on June 2, 2016. Specifically, OPEC weekly basket price increased by 1.43 percent from $44.65 on May 27, 2016 to $45.29 on June 3, 2016. Brent was sold for $49.96 on June 3, 2016. The present rise in crude oil price can be attributed to oil production shocks in several oil-exporting countries, and the general expectation of a further cut in output following the OPEC meeting in Vienna on June 2, 2016. However, the OPEC meeting ended with no agreement on production quotas. In Nigeria, oil production level increased in the period under review, following repairs on some of the damaged oil and gas facilities. Precisely, Nigerias output increased by 200,000 barrels on June 3, 2016 to 1.6 million barrels.
The falling tide in the international value of Naira experienced a reversal in the review week with naira appreciating significantly by 11 percent from N516/$ on February 17, 2017 to N460/$ on February 24, 2017 at the parallel market the first appreciation since December 2016. The recent rise in naira value was driven by forex supply-demand gap closure, sequel to improvements in dollar liquidity. The recent CBN Special intervention (e.g. the auction and sale of $370 million and $1.5 million respectively, by the apex bank during the week) and its revised forex policy guidelinescontributed in dousing speculations in the parallel market, thus gradually narrowing the margin between the interbank and parallel market rates. Given that the sustainability of naira appreciation is strongly hinged on the improvement in foreign reserve which is largely dependent on crude oil sales, the government should continue its efforts at calming tensions in the Niger Delta region.