Nigeria January inflation rises for 12th month running to 18.72 pct

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LAGOS, FEBRUARY 15, 2017 – Annual inflation in Nigeria rose in January to 18.72 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday, its 12th straight monthly increase.

The rise from 18.55 percent in December, its highest in more than 11 years, was driven by surges in food, transport and electricity. A separate food index also rose, to 17.82 percent from 17.39 percent in December, the statistics office said.

Galloping inflation comes as Africa’s largest economy grapples with its first recession in 25 years, largely caused by the fall in global oil prices since 2014. Crude oil sales account for 70 percent of government revenue.

In December, President Muhammadu Buhari presented a record 7.298 trillion-naira ($23.97 billion) budget for 2017 aimed at stimulating growth and pulling the economy out of recession. Economists have questioned whether those goals can be reached.

The soaring cost of living in Nigeria, where the United Nations estimates that 70 percent of the population live on a dollar a day, has prompted widespread anger at Buhari’s handling of the economy.

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