Nigeria: Central Bank leaves policy rate unchanged
January 24, 2017
At its 23–24 January monetary policy meeting, all members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) decided to leave the monetary policy rate and all other monetary policy mechanisms unchanged, meeting market expectations.
The Central Bank based its decision on the latest developments in the domestic economy and abroad. The latest data show that the economy is in deep recession and inflationary pressures remain strong. While rising commodity prices are expected to give short-term respite to the country’s battered public finances, the medium-term outlook remains beset by stagnation and uncertainty concerning global trade, investment inflows and political developments abroad.
The CBN stressed that the problems afflicting the economy such as low fiscal activity, a scarcity of foreign exchange, high energy prices and unpaid salaries can only be resolved by a commitment from the fiscal authorities and not by monetary policy. The Committee considers it would be imprudent to cut the rate, since it would “worsen the inflationary conditions and undermine the current outlook for stability in the foreign exchange market.” They also consider that such a move would be untimely since it would undermine aggregate demand, reduce existing income levels and stave off investment.
Against this backdrop, the MPC voted unanimously to leave the monetary policy rate unchanged at 14.00% and the liquidity ratio at 30.00%. The Committee also left the asymmetric corridor of plus 200 and minus 500 basis points around the key rate unchanged and the Cash Reserve Requirements at 22.50%.
The next Central Bank meeting is to be held on 20 and 21 March.