UPDATE 1: Nigeria’s inflation rate rises for first time in a year and a half as votes near

    An Illegal migrant from Niger carries her child on May 14, 2014 after settling with other migrants, some of them for more than one year, near the fruit market in the Algerian town of Boufarik, 35 km south of the capital Algiers in the Blida province. The Sahel-Sahara region has been plagued by jihadist violence and severe food shortages. Some Algerian newspapers articles have recently shown signs of racism against African migrants arriving in the country to flee violence and poverty back home. AFP PHOTO/FAROUK BATICHE / AFP PHOTO / FAROUK BATICHE

    ABUJA, Sept 14 – Nigeria’s inflation rate rose in August over the previous year for the first time in a year and a half, driven by food prices, the statistics office said on Friday.

    The slight jump, from 11.14 percent in July to 11.23 percent in August, curtails an 18-month run of falling rates from a peak of 18.72 percent in January 2017, as President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration battled to keep inflation under control.

    Food prices rose 13.16 percent over the previous year, versus 12.85 percent in the previous month.

    Now, the main factor to watch is “when and by how much pre-election spending kicks in, pressuring inflation,” said Razia Khan, Standard Charter’s chief economist for Africa.

    “For now, we don’t see it in core inflation,” she said.

    Nigeria will hold elections in February and March 2019. Typically, the months running up to the vote are a time of heavy spending as politicians campaign and the government tries to complete projects.

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