UPDATE 1-Nigeria inflation rises on fuel subsidy removal

Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:42am GMT

* Headline inflation 12.6 pct in Jan vs 10.3 pct in Dec

* Subsidy removal pushes up transport, food costs

* Cbank expects subsidy-linked inflation to be short term (Adds quote, graphic, background)

ABUJA, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Nigerian inflation was higher than expected in January, data showed on Monday after the government removed fuel import subsidies and then only partially reinstated them, sending prices higher.

The government scrapped the subsidies on Jan. 1 but was forced to partially reinstate them to quell protests over the costs of petrol. Fuel prices fell but stayed higher than they had been before the subsidy was removed.

Nigeria's consumer inflation rose to 12.6 percent year-on-year in January, compared with 10.3 percent the previous month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Monday.

Analysts polled by Reuters expected January headline inflation to rise to 11.75 percent.

"The biggest contributors to the consumer inflation were the high prices of some food items, liquid fuel and transport fares, and other miscellaneous goods and services which need liquid fuel and or transport fares for providing their services," an NBS document said.

Food inflation, the biggest contributer to the headline figure, rose to 13.1 percent, up from 11 percent in December, NBS said. The partial removal of the fuel subsidies push food triggered a spike in food prices in   Continued...

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