The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is likely to keep interest rates unchanged at the end of its two-day meeting (the first for the year) tomorrow, financial experts have said.
According to the experts, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS’) release of data, last Monday, which showed that after maintaining a consecutive decline for a period of eight months – from April to November 2021 – inflation unexpectedly rose to 15.63 per cent in December from 15.40 per cent in the previous month, is not likely to influence how MPC will vote, given that the committee will continue to aim to support the recovering economic growth.
For instance, commenting on the NBS’ report in a note released last Tuesday, analysts at Financial Derivatives Company Ltd (FDC) stated: “Most analysts were of the view that the CBN’s MPC will maintain status quo again next week in view of the earlier anticipated declining inflation.
The new data now increases the probability of a tightening even though remote at this time. CBN had maintained status quo 25 times in the last 28 meetings.”
Also, commenting on the NBS’ data, the Chief Economist, Coronation Merchant Bank, Chinwe Egwim, noted that although the Federal Government’s efforts, aimed at tackling insecurity, would likely contribute to easing bottlenecks affecting food supply, thus helping to reduce food inflation, “factors such as electioneering and the potential removal of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidy could keep headline inflation at double-digit in 2022.”
She further stated: “Based on the latest personal statements of MPC members, although the headline inflation rate is above the 6-9 per cent benchmark, efforts at mitigating supply induced inflation are yielding results, while routine monetary sterilisation is assisting with keeping monetary induced inflation under control, without requiring adjustments to the primary policy levers.”
Similarly, reacting to the NBS’ report, Managing Director, Chief Economist, Africa and the Middle East, Global Research, Standard Chartered Bank, Razia Khan, said:
“Despite the uptick in December inflation, we do not expect this to have a significant impact on Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Monetary policy, ” adding that the removal of COVID- 19 era monetary measures later in 2022 will be of greater relevance than any (less impactful) monetary policy rate changes.
New Telegraph reports that at their last meeting of 2021 held in November, MPC members voted to retain the benchmark interest rate-the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 11.50 per cent.
They also voted to leave other parameters unchanged.
Specifically, they retained the asymmetric corridor of +100/- 700 basis points around the MPR while Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Liquidity Ratio were kept at 27.5 per cent and 30 per cent respectively