Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product, GDP, advanced 0.5% year-on-year in the first quarter of this year following a 0.1% year-on-year increase in the fourth quarter of last year, helped by increasing oil prices and agriculture sector growth, among others.

Newly-released Monthly Oil Market Report, MOMR, for June by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, said the country registered the second consecutive quarterly growth since its economy faced recession in the third quarter of 2020 amid the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and an improvement in oil prices.

The non-oil sector expanded 0.8% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021 following a 1.7% year-on-year growth in the last quarter of 2020.The current growth was also powered by the agriculture sector, which expanded by 2.3% year-on-year.

Industrial activity saw growth of 0.9% y-o-y, after dropping by 5.6% y-o-y on average in 2020.

“The forward looking PMI indices supported the ongoing recovery as the Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria PMI jumped to 54.4 in May 2021, from 52.9 in the previous period,” the report said.

This, OPEC said, was the strongest improvement in the health of the private sector in 9 months.

Moreover, the annual inflation rate declined to 18.12% in April 2021, from a four-year high of 18.17% in March but producer inflation accelerated to a significantly high level, amid raw material shortages and unfavourable exchange rate depreciation.

Consequently, the Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, decided to keep its policy rate at 11.5% at its recent meeting.

Looking forward, OPEC said Nigeria’s business sentiment remained optimistic, driven by the current expansion in manufacturing operations as well as the higher oil prices. Brent international climbed to $75.32 per barrel at 11:30AM Nigerian time on Thursday.

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