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CBN: Interest rate raises 4th straight time by 16.5% in 2022

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 CBN Interest rate raises 4th straight time by 16 5 in 2022
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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday after the two day Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja, raised its benchmark interest rate, known as Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 100 basis points to 16.5 percent, the fourth straight hike this year.

This was in consideration of the persistent rise in inflation rate and fragile growth. Nigeria’s headline inflation accelerated to the highest level in 17 years to 21.09 percent in October 2022, from 20.77 percent in the previous month.

The CBN had in the last few months increased its monetary policy stance by a combined 400 basis points to rein in inflation. In its meeting in May 2022, the CBN raised its benchmark interest rate by 150 basis points to 13 percent, the first time in six years. In July 2022, Africa’s most populous country’s big bank also increased its interest rate by 100 basis points to 14 percent and in September to 15.5 percent by 50 basis points.

After the meeting, MPC members unanimously voted to retain other parameters. Consequently the CBN retained the Asymmetric Corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR; retained the CRR at 32.5 per cent; and the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, who announced the decision after the meeting said, “the MPC noted with concern the continued aggressive movement in inflation, even after the three consecutive rate hike at its previous meetings. He expressed its unrelenting resolve to restore price stability while providing the necessary support to strengthen the fragile recovery.”

However, the new rate hike is not surprising to some analysts as they expected further hike. Some analysts described the hike in interest rate for three consecutive times as a way to lure foreign inflows into the country and ease the pressure on the naira.

READ ALSO: IMF tells CBN how to boost value of naira against dollar

In meetings with investors, including at the IMF Annual Meetings, Emefiele has pledged to raise the policy rate for as long as inflation is still accelerating, stating that Nigeria has decisively moved away from the accommodative monetary policy in place since the economic shocks of 2016. Alongside a willingness to adjust the naira/dollar rate in line with the Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER), said Standard Chartered Bank in a report.

“We think this implies an eventual NAFEX rate of about 500 – we believe that the CBN may be preparing the ground for FX reforms and is willing to accommodate higher market interest rates in order to attract foreign portfolio investors. We now expect a 150bps hike in the monetary policy rate to 17.0 percent in November (consensus: 16.0%, prior 14.0%),” said Razia Khan, managing director, Chief Economist, Africa and Middle East Global Research, Standard Chartered Bank.

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