The CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is expected to leave the interest rate of 13.5% unchanged during its meeting later today.
The projection is coming on the heels of macroeconomic fundamentals released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which showed that inflation rose to 12.34%; its seventh consecutive monthly rise and highest level since April 2018.
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Note that Nigeria’s inflation could potentially rise to 14% by the end of the year due to a higher VAT and a weakened naira. Therefore, in order to minimise the risk of exacerbating inflationary pressures, the CBN is unlikely to further cut rates. This possible outcome from the MPC meeting will help stimulate economic growth, just like it did in 2019.
Meanwhile, despite the foreign exchange liquidity crisis being experienced in the currency spot market, data obtained from CBN revealed that the country’s foreign exchange reserves have further increased to $36.16 billion (Gross Estimate) as of 28th of May, 2020.
The surge in Nigeria’s external reserves is due to the fact that the price of crude had gained more than 40% since the deadly COVID-19 pandemic started, coupled with reports that foreign investors are returning to Nigeria. The disbursement of $3.4 billion emergency facility by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to CBN has also been a contributing factor.
Recall that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had promised more liquidity in the currency market, assuring that all genuine dollar demands would be met.
However, an Interest rate expert, Ola Oladele, during a phone chat with Nairametrics, advised that the CBN should keep its word by boosting Nigeria’s Forex supply as the persistent downtrend in the currency black market continues. She said:
“The depreciation of the naira in the parallel market as a result of low supply of FX from official sources and less optimistic outlook on the economy due to falling oil prices.
“The BDCs haven’t received supply from official sources since our borders were closed and the crash in oil prices has made natural sellers of FX more cautious.
“We hope that the recent statements by the regulator will restore confidence and subsequently, supply to the market.”