Urban inflation rate stay high at 12.6 per cent in February

Residents of most cities in the country are still grappling with rising inflation as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reports an inflation rate in February that has only shifted by 0.2 per cent below the figure recorded last January.

The corresponding 12?month year?on?year average percentage changes for urban and rural indices were 12.6 and 9.4 respectively.

Composite Consumer Price Index, which measures a country’s inflation, stood at about 12.6 per cent year-on-year basis in January 2012, which was about 2.2 per cent points higher than 10.3 per cent recorded last December.

Although the monthly composite CPI was higher by 0.3 per cent when compared with January level, the February inflation rate represented 0.7 percentage points lower than January’s rate when analysed on year-on-year basis.

“Urban inflation rate was 12.6 per cent year?on?year, while the rural figure was 11.3 for February 2012,” the statistics bureau said in its latest report. “The urban All Items index declined by 0.2 per cent on month?on?month, while the corresponding rural index increase by 0.6 per cent, when compared with their preceding months. This was slightly higher than the 10.9 per cent recorded for the preceding month.

According to the bureau, high prices of most food items, liquid and solid fuels, furniture and furnishings and transport fares account for the biggest share of the consumer inflation, with the percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12?month period ending February 2012 over the average of the CPI for the previous 12?month period at 11 per cent.

Followers of the country’s inflationary trend say the drop in CPI rate for the month under review from the 12.6 per cent level in January to 11.9 per cent was an indication that the various palliatives measures adopted by government to cushion the negative impact of the recent removal of subsidy on petrol was yielding positive benefits.

 “The increase in the headline index, composed of the core and food indices, was due to the partial petrol subsidy removal that pushed up prices of many food and non?food items, including transport fares”, the NBS said.

It however said the impact of transportation challenges on the price level had to do with only the cost of transporting food items from the production centres to the market as a result of the 49.12 per cent increment of the price of petrol from N65 to N97 per litre.

Similarly, the month-on?month change of 0.3 per cent, the NBS noted, shows a relative moderation in price increases between January and February as prices were fully incorporated into producer costs and seasonal adjustments as prices in the urban areas declined in February after a high in the wake of increased spending on yuletide festivities last December.

On food Items price trend, the agency said index was higher in February than the corresponding level a year ago by 12.9 percent, though lower than 13.1 per cent recorded in the preceding month.

When compared with January 2012 figure, average monthly food prices rose in February by 2.8 per cent, attributable to the rise in the food inflation rate as a result of the increasing cost of cereals, yam, other tubers, cooking oil, meat, fruit, vegetables and beverages.

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