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Bloomberg

Nigeria’s central bank will likely keep its key interest rate unchanged on Tuesday after data showed the economy’s recovery remains weak.

Gross domestic product in the continent’s biggest oil producer expanded 0.5% in the three months through March from a year earlier, the statistics office said Sunday. While that was an improvement on the fourth quarter’s 0.11% increase, it undershot the median in a Bloomberg survey.

The slow pickup could reinforce central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele’s view that it’s still too early to increase the the benchmark rate from 11.5% despite inflation that’s near a four-year high. The monetary policy committee cut it by 200 basis points in 2020 to prop up Africa’s largest economy against the impact of coronavirus lockdowns and a plunge in oil prices.

However, GDP still contracted 1.92% for the full year, which is the most since at least 1991 according to International Monetary Fund data. Emefiele has said the MPC can only shift to fighting inflation once the economy’s recovery from the recession gains some traction.

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