The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised the monetary policy rate (MPR), which benchmarks interest rates, from 18.5 percent to 18.75 percent, representing the highest interest rate in 22 years.
The announcement was made by the acting CBN governor, Folashodun Shonubi during a press briefing, after the two-day MPC meeting on Tuesday. This is the first MPC meeting chaired by the new acting CBN governor, following the suspension of Godwin Emefiele.
CBN’s decision is the first monetary policy decision made by the committee since the Bola Tinubu administration Highlights of the MPC decision.
Highlights of the meeting
The MPR was increased by 25 basis points to 18.75%
The asymmetric corridor was narrowed to +100/-300 basis points around the MPR from +100/-700 basis points
CRR was retained at 32.5%
The liquidity Ratio was also kept at 30%
According to the MPC, the decision to further hike interest rates was driven by the rate of rising inflation in the country.
Nigeria’s headline inflation surged to 22.79% in June 2023, which is the highest rate since September 2005. This is despite multiple interest rate hikes by the CBN in the last 14 months.
Although, inflation is expected to increase further on the back of the twin effects of petrol subsidy removal and the convergence of the exchange rate.
Since the CBN switched the gear to a hawkish stance in May 2022, the interest rate has been increased by 725 basis points from 11.5% to 18.75%, while inflation has moved from 17.71% to 22.79%.
Addressing journalists at the end of the MPC meeting, Shonubi said the apex bank has also commenced intervention in the Forex market to make up for shock.
According to Mr. Shonubi, the hike in interest rate will help narrow the negative real rate of returns as well as encourage foreign investments.
Money supply surged despite contractionary measure
Nigeria’s money supply increased by a whopping N8.8 trillion in June 2023 to N64.3 trillion from N55.5 trillion recorded as of the previous month. This is the highest level on record according to data from the CBN.
The significant rise was despite contractionary measures adopted by the CBN to tighten the level of liquidity in the country. However, money supply and currency in circulation have continued to spike significantly.
Specifically, currency in circulation rose N2.6 trillion In June from N2.5 trillion in the previous month, while currency outside banks’ vault increased to N2.26 trillion from N2.18 trillion as of the prior month.
In the same vein, credit to the government increased to N31.2 trillion from N30.7 trillion, while credit to the private sector surged to N52.8 trillion from N44.8 trillion recorded in May 2023.
The surge in money liquidity and inflationary pressure in the country despite the hawkish move of the CBN, indicates that raising interest rates alone is not enough to tighten liquidity and clamp down on inflation.Follow us on social media