Nigeria’s inflation rate climbed to the highest in almost four years in March, adding pressure on the central bank to ease foreign-exchange controls that are pushing up consumer prices.
Inflation in Africa’s largest economy and oil producer accelerated to 12.8 percent on an annualized basis, the highest since July 2012, from 11.4 percent in February, the Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics said today by e-mail.
Food prices rose 12.7 percent in March from a year ago, compared with 11.4 percent in the previous month, driven up by transportation costs, the planting season and foreign-exchange movements, the statistics agency said.
The Nigerian central bank has pegged the naira at 197-199 per dollar since March last year, and restricted trading in foreign currencies, making imports more costly for a nation that’s a net importer of refined fuel and food products.
Importers struggle to access foreign exchange at the official rate, with the naira falling to around 320 on the black market.