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Angola's central bank left its benchmark BNA rate seasonal effects at 16.0 percent, again saying it is paying particular attention to the rise in inflation, which it attributed to seasonal factors.

  

The National Bank of Angola (BNA), which raised its rate 500 basis points last year - most recently in June - to curb inflation, added its monetary policy committee had also taken note of the trend of declining monetary indicators.

  

Angola's inflation rate rose to 41.95 percent in December - the highest since June 2004 - from 41.15 percent in November, with prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages, miscellaneous goods, and apparel and footwear contributing most to the rise in inflation.

Angola's inflation rate has been accelerating since early 2015 as the fall in crude oil prices hit government revenue and foreign exchange earnings, weakening the kwanza.

  

The central bank has devalued the kwanza several times in recent years and has been quoting the kwanza at around 165 per U.S. dollar since mid-April 2016.

  

In January 20916 the central bank let the kwanza ease to around 155 from around 135, the rate it had targeted since September 2015.

    

Angola's LUIBOR overnight rate, also rose to 23.35 percent from 22.65 percent while credit to the economy in December rose by 1.62 percent.

  

But the restricted monetary base contracted by 2.82 percent in December while the M2 aggregate fell by 0.15 percent for an annual rise of 13.03 percent, the BNA said.

  

The central bank added that commercial banks acquired $US1.947 billion on the foreign exchange market in December, of which $1.486 was from the BNA, an annual rise of 49.31 percent.

    

Angola's banks last week asked the government for financial assistance due to liquidity shortage amid rising bad debts, slowing business and lower government spending.

  

Revenue from oil accounts for almost all Angola's foreign exchange earnings and the fall in crude oil prices since mid-2014 has curtailed economic activity.

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