September 17, 2019 / 4:54 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Nigeria's central bank moves monetary policy meeting forward to Sept. 19-20

(Adds comment from source, background)

LAGOS, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Nigeria’s central bank has rescheduled its monetary policy committee meeting, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

The bank moved the meeting forward to Sept. 19 and 20 after having previously been scheduled to take place on Sept. 23-24. The statement gave no reason for the change and a central bank spokesman told Reuters he did not know why the date had changed.

A source at the central bank said the governor Godwin Emefiele was due to attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York next week, hence the rate setting meeting was brought forward.

Analysts expect Nigeria to begin easing rates from September after inflation fell to almost a four-year low in August but the price index remains outside the bank’s single-digit target and recent currency weakness could mean it might want to hold fire.

The central bank in March cut its benchmark interest rate in a surprise move to 13.5% from 14% as part of an attempt to stimulate growth and signal a new direction, it said at the time. The move was the first rate cut since November 2015.

Nigeria emerged from its first recession in 25 years in 2017 but growth remains fragile, although higher oil prices and recent debt sales have helped the continent’s biggest crude producer to accrue billions of dollars in foreign reserves. (Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram in Lagos, additional reporting by Camillus Eboh and Chijioke Ohuocha in Abuja; Editing by Franklin Paul and David Evans)

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