Nigeria and Kenya inching closer to interest rate cuts

JOHANNESBURG – Nigeria and Kenya will follow Ghana’s lead and cut rates in the third quarter, a Reuters poll found, as long as there is a monetary committee quorum in Abuja and an easier commercial lending

JOHANNESBURG – Nigeria and Kenya will follow Ghana’s lead and cut rates in the third quarter, a Reuters poll found, as long as there is a monetary committee quorum in Abuja and an easier commercial lending

A Reuters poll of 11 analysts for some of Africa’s major central banks, taken in the past four days, found the majority saying Nigeria and Kenya’s benchmark rates will remain at 14.0 and 10.0 percent respectively next week.

Eight of the 12 members still need to be appointed to Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) - so there is unlikely to be a meeting next week - while Kenya remains hamstrung by a bill limiting commercial lending rates to 4 percentage points above its official rate.

Nigeria’s central bank was forced to cancel its January meeting as it was unable to reach a quorum. But the Senate plans to start screening new members for the interest rate committee after it held up some of President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees in a political spat.

Inflation in both Nigeria and Kenya slowed recently, making both ripe for easier policy, and according to the poll there will be 200 and 100 basis points worth of cuts coming this year, respectively.

“There is a case for policy loosening in Nigeria and Kenya, but inflation in Nigeria has been stickier at least until February and the delay in appointing new members of the MPC has also held up policymaking,” said John Ashbourne, Africa economist at Capital Economics.

Agencies

 

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