Abuja - Nigeria's consumer inflation eased slightly to 12.7 percent year-on-year in May, from 12.9 percent in April, data showed on Tuesday, adding to expectations the central bank will keep interest rates on hold in the near term.
Nigeria's central bank wants consumer inflation in single-digits but has accepted that the headline figure is likely to peak at around 14 percent later this year.
The regulator last month kept its benchmark interest rate on hold at 12 percent for the fourth meeting running, citing the need to balance inflationary concerns with slowing economic growth.
"Given the slowdown in real GDP growth, and the weakness in monetary aggregates, Nigerian interest rates are likely comfortably on hold for the rest of the year," Razia Khan, Head of Africa Research at Standard Chartered, said in reaction to the inflation figures.
Food inflation rose sharply to 12.9 percent year-on-year in May, from 11.2 percent the previous month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report said on Tuesday.
"The high year-on-year change could be partly attributable to persistent increases in the prices some farm produce due to the farming season, for example vegetables which are typically in short supply at this time of the year," the NBS report said.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile agricultural produce also rose to 14.9 percent in May, from 14.7 percent in April.