Dr Ogho Okiti,

MPC: Expert predicts rise in lending rate to 15%

Abuja –  The Chief Executive Officer of Time Economics, Dr Ogho Okiti, has predicted that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) would tighten the Monetary Policy Rate(MPR) from 12 to 15 per cent.

Okiti made the prediction in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

He expressed the firm’s prediction ahead of the Monetary Policy Committee Meeting scheduled to hold between Monday and Tuesday.

NAN recalls that at the last MPC meeting in March, the MPC raised MPR by 100 basis points from 11 per cent to 12 per cent and raised the Cash Reserve Ratio by 250 basis points from 20 to 22.50 per cent.

The Liquidity Ratio was retained at 30 per cent and the asymmetric corridor was narrowed from +200 and -700 basis points to +200 and -500 basis points.

“Following the decisions made at the last meeting along with the committee bias towards price stability, we anticipate that the committee will move toward further rate tightening by raising the Monetary Policy Rate.

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“However, we expect they will make little or no adjustment to the Cash Reserve Requirements and the Liquidity Ratio, following very poor growth figures.

“In summary, we anticipate MPR to be increased by 200 basis points to 15 per cent, maintain asymmetric corridor of +200/–500 basis points around the midpoint of the MPR and maintain CRR at 22.5 per cent.

“Also, the Liquidity Ratio will be maintained at 30 per cent,” he said.

Okiti said it was unlikely that the committee would make changes on the exchange rate, given that there was already an expectation of devaluation.

He said the expectation was responsible for the further widening of the gap between the official and the parallel rates, adding that the committee was unlikely to bow to market pressures.

Okiti explained that the slowing economic growth, continued rise in inflation and fuel price would play a key role in the decisions the committee would take at its meeting.

“The meeting will hold amidst what is probably the most severe combination of shocks in the economy since the start of the century.

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“The pace of economic growth in the first quarter of 2016 fell by -0.4 per cent from the 2.11 per cent and 3.96 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter, 2015 and the first quarter of 2016.

“Headline inflation index continued its northward movement for the third consecutive month to advance to 13.7 per cent in the month of April.

“The upward advancement in general price levels by 90 basis points were driven by marked increase in both food and core sub-index.

“This increased by 13.2 per cent and 13.4 per cent respectively, compared to 12.74 per cent and 12.17 per cent recorded in March.

“These developments were largely driven by the worsening fuel scarcity which has had crippling effects on business operations and transport costs across the country,’’ he said.

Okiti said the foreign exchange situation, which continues to negatively impact on costs of imported goods, need to be improved and a strong fiscal policy blueprint should be provided to stimulate growth. (NAN)

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