Abuja - Nigeria's inflation rate has dropped to 8.6 per cent in March, down from the 9.5 per cent rate attained in the preceding month.
This is contained in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by Dr Yemi Kale, the Statistician-General of the Federation.
``The nation’s Composite Price Index (CPI), which measures the average change in price level, slowed down for the second consecutive month in March, dropping to 8.6 per cent, down from the 9.5 per cent rate attained in the preceding month.
``The slower rise in the headline index when compared with the price level of the preceding month could primarily be attributable to base effects from March of 2012 when the economy witnessed significant higher price levels," he said.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said that between February and March of 2012, there were substantial increases in seven, eight and six of the 11 non-food Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP) divisions in the headline.
The statement said that urban and rural indices which resulted in the Core Index, increased from 11.9 in February 2012, to 15.0 in March 2012.
``In March, the composite CPI increased by 0.71 per cent month-on-month from index levels recorded in February.
``The Urban composite CPI was recorded at 142.8 in March, which was a 9.3 per cent year-on-year change. This was lower than the 9.8 per cent recorded in February.''
The bureau said the corresponding Rural composite CPI recorded a 8.1 per cent year-on-year change, up from 9.5 per cent in February.
``On a month-on-month basis, the Urban All-item index increased by 0.6 per cent from levels recorded in February while the Rural All Items index increased from levels recorded in February by 0.8 per cent.
``The percentage change in the average Composite CPI for the twelve-month period ending in March 2012 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve-month period was recorded at 11.4 per cent.
``The corresponding 12-month year-on-year average percentage change for the Urban index was 13.3percent, while the corresponding Rural index was 10.0 per cent,” the statement said.
The bureau noted that in the month under review, the composite Food Index increased year-on-year by 9.5 per cent to 144.6 points, representing 1.5 percentage points lower than the 11.0 per cent recorded in the preceding month.
It said that on a month-on-month basis, the Food index increased by 1.0 per cent between February and March.
The NBS said that food prices were higher across all classes in the food sub-index.
It attributed the higher food index to contributions by bread and cereals, potatoes, yams and other tubers and vegetables.
``On the `All items less Farm Produce' or Core index, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural products, increased by 7.2 per cent year-on-year, a percentage that was lower than 11.2 per cent recorded in the preceding month by 4 percentage points while on month-on-month basis, the Core index increased by 0.7 per cent from February to March 2013,"
The statement indicated that year-on-year all COICOP classes that contributed to the core exhibited, muted rises except the “Alcoholic Beverages, Tobacco and Cola” division.
It added that the average 12-month annual rate of rise of the index was recorded at 13.0 per cent for the twelve-month period ending in March 2013, down by 0.7 percentage points from February, 2013.