Low Inflation Eases Food Prices

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Nigerian inflation slowed for the second consecutive month in October as a good harvest in the West African nation damped food prices. The inflation rate fell to 13.4 per cent from 13.6 per

cent in September, the Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement on Wednesday .  Food costs rose an annual 14.1 per cent, compared with 14.6 per

cent a month earlier.

The harvesting season reached its peak during the period, “putting downward pressures on food prices,” Alan Cameron, an analyst at London-based Business Monitor International, said by e-mail. “Weather conditions over the summer were for the most part positive and the harvest is yielding good results.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria, which is targeting inflation of less than 10 per cent, raised its key lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 6.25 per cent on September 21. Plans to buy toxic debt from commercial banks and increased government spending before elections next year may add to pressure on prices, said central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi.

Food accounts for 50.7 per cent of the consumer price index in Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer and the continent’s most populous country.