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Angola's central bank maintained its benchmark BNA rate at 16.0 percent, along with its other key rates, and inflation is continuing to follow the downward trajectory that began in January.

  

The National Bank of Angola (BNA) has kept its key rate steady since June last year when it raised it to the current level to curb accelerating inflation. In 2016 the BNA rate was raised 500 basis points.

  

The BNA's monetary policy committee (CPM) met on April 28 and its next meeting is scheduled for May 30.

  

Angola's inflation rate, as measured by consumer prices in the province of Luanda, eased to 37.86 percent in March, down from 39.45 percent in February, according to the BNA.

Nationally, inflation eased to 36.52 percent in March, the third consecutive month of declining inflation since December 2016 when inflation hit 41.12 percent.

 

Angola's inflation rate began accelerating in early 2015 as the fall in crude oil prices dented government revenue and foreign exchange earnings, weakening the kwanza's exchange rate and pushing up import prices and inflation.

    

The BNA 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 last year the central bank let the kwanza ease to around 155 from around 135, the rate it had targeted since September 2015.

  

Today it said the average exchange rate of the kwanza was steady at 165.91 to the U.S. dollar.

  

The BNA sold US$2.193 billion to commercial agents through banks in March, up from $798 million in the previous month.

    

During the same period, the LUIBOR overnight rate was unchanged at 23.67 percent while 3 and 12-month rates were 21.05 percent and 25.75 percent, respectively.

    

Preliminary data also showed that credit issued to the economy in March fell by 0.75 percent from the previous month while gross credit to the central government rose by 0.98 percent and government deposits in the banking system declined by 2.59 percent.

 

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