Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The rate of inflation recorded its sharpest decline of 0.99 percentage points in 11 months, dropping from 14.33 per cent in February 2018 to 13.34 per cent in March, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.

According to the NBS, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, stood at 13.34 per cent (year-on-year) in March 2018, but the Composite Food Index rose by 16.08 per cent (year-on-year) during the month under review, down from 17.59 per cent recorded in February.

On a month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 0.90 percent in March 2018, up by 0.05 percentage points from 0.85 per cent in February.

The average annual rate of change of the food sub-index for the 12-month period ending March 2018 over the previous 12-month average was 19.29 per cent, 0.23 per cent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in February (19.52 per cent).

The rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, fish, oil and fats, vegetables, fruits, coffee, tea and cocoa, meat, milk, cheese and eggs, the NBS said.

The “All Items less Farm Produce” or Core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce, rose by 11.2 per cent in March 2018, down by 0.5 percentage points from 11.7 per cent in February.

On a month-on-month basis, the core sub-index also increased by 0.84 per cent in March 2018, higher by 0.09 per cent when compared with 0.75 per cent recorded in February.

The average 12-month annual rate of change of the index was 12.33 per cent for the twelve-month period ending March 2018, said the NBS, translating to a 0.34 percentage points decrease from 12.67 per cent February.
The NBS further noted that increases were recorded in all Classification of individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP) divisions that yield the headline index.

On a month-on-month basis, the headline index increased by 0.84 per cent in March 2018, up by 0.05 per cent points from the rate recorded in February.

The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12-month period ending March 2018 over the average of the CPI for the previous 12-month period was 15.60 per cent, showing a 0.33 percentage point drop from 15.93 per cent in February.

The highest increases were recorded in the prices of clothing materials, garments and other articles of clothing and clothing accessories, vehicle spare parts, fuel and lubricants for personal transport equipment, actual
and imputed rentals for housing, passenger transport by road, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, shoes and other footwear, maintenance and repair of personal transport equipment, and paramedical services.

According to the statistical agency, urban inflation rate eased by 13.75 per cent (year-on-year) in March 2018 from 14.76 per cent recorded in February, while the rural inflation rate also eased by 12.99 per cent in March 2018 from 13.96 per cent in February.

On a month-on-month basis, the urban index rose by 0.86 per cent in March 2018, up by 0.04 from 0.82 per cent recorded in February, while the rural index also rose by 0.82 per cent in March 2018, up by 0.05 from 0.77 per cent in the preceding month.

The corresponding 12-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index was 15.87 per cent in March 2018, less than 16.24 per cent reported in February, while the corresponding rural
inflation rate in March 2018 was 15.34 per cent compared to 15.64 per cent in February.

In March, all items inflation on a year-on-year basis was highest in Bauchi (16.38%), Kebbi (16.36%) and Nasarawa (16.33 per cent), while Kwara (10.30 per cent), Kogi (10.87 per cent) and Delta (11.17 per cent) recorded the slowest rise in headline year-on-year inflation.

On a month-on-month basis, however, all items inflation was highest in Nasarawa (2.20%), Ebonyi (2.10 per cent) and Bauchi (1.87 per cent).

Yobe (0.07 per cent) recorded slowest rise while Kebbi and Kwara recorded price deflation on a month-on-month all items basis last month.

For the month under review, food inflation on a year-on-year basis was highest in Nasarawa (20.83 per cent), Bayelsa (19.03 per cent) and Yobe (18.93 per cent), while Kogi (11.99 per cent, Bauchi (12.60 per cent) and Benue (13.07 per cent) recorded the slowest rise in food inflation.

On a month-on-month basis however, March food inflation was highest in Nasarawa (3.22 per cent), Ebonyi (2.97 per cent) and Jigawa (2.37 per cent).

Kebbi, Imo, Niger, Kwara, Lagos, Rivers and Yobe all recorded food price deflation or negative inflation in March.