By Omodele Adigun
No respite seems to be in sight yet for the economy as inflation inched up again to about 18.5 per cent in November for the 10th consecutive time this year and the highest in more than 11 years.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which released the latest figure on Thursday, the rise from 18.3 per cent in October reflected higher prices for housing, electricity and food, a separate index for which rose to 17.19 per cent from 17.1 per cent in October.
“During the month, the highest increases were seen in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, clothing materials and other articles of clothing,” the NBS said of the November figure in a statement.
The report reads in part: “The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, increased by 18.48 per cent (year-on-year) in November 2016, 0.15 percentage points higher than the rate recorded in October (18.33 per cent).
“During the month, the highest increases were seen in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, clothing materials, books, liquid fuel, passenger transport, motorcycles and shoes.”
The report stated that communication and insurance index recorded the slowest pace of increases in November, rising at 5.61 per cent and 6.76 per cent year-on-year respectively.
It said the food sub-index increased by 17.19 per cent year-on-year in November, up by 0.10 percentage points from the 17.09 per cent recorded in October.
The urban index, according to the report, rose by 20.07 per cent year-on-year in November from 19.91 per cent recorded in October, while the rural index increased by 17.10 per cent in November from 16.95 per cent in October.
On† a month-on-month† basis, the report stated that the urban index dropped by 0.03 per cent while the rural index was also down by 0.05 per cent.
Food inflation increased by 17.2 percent, while the average price of fuel climbed to N146.7 compared with N145.9 in October, according to NBS. The indexís rise was mainly driven by increases in the prices of imported foods, meat, bread and cereals and fish, according to the report.
The weak supply of basic food items such as rice also helped drive up prices, according to Ayodele Akinwunmi, head of research at Lagos-based FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd.
“The foreign exchange rate is also very weak,î Akinwunmi told a foreign news service on Thursday. ìPeople are sourcing the more expensive dollars from the black market to import items.î