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Namibia's central bank left its benchmark repo rate at 7.0 percent, noting that inflation had slowed in the first four months of the year while the domestic economy remained weak.

    

The Bank of Namibia, which has kept its rate steady since raising it by 25 basis points in April 2016, also said growth in private sector credit had slowed in the first four months of the year, with the annual growth rate at 8.6 percent, down from 13.0 percent in the same 2016 period.

    

Slowing growth was visible in credit advances to both the corporate and household sectors, especially in mortgages and installment credit, the central bank added.

Namibia's inflation rate decelerated to 6.7 percent in April from 8.2 percent in January due to lower food inflation and by the end of the year inflation is expected to average 6.9 percent.

    

Namibia's economy shrank by an annual 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of last year compared with a 0.8 percent contraction in the third quarter with growth in the full year of only 0.2 percent, down from 6.1 percent in 2015.

    

Weakness continued at the start of this year, with the central bank saying "this feeble performance was largely reflected in sectors such as manufacturing, construction as well as wholesale and retail trade."

    

The bright spots include the mining sector, particularly the production of diamonds, zinc and gold and going forward the output of uranium and blister copper is expected to improve.

    

As of June 1, Namibia's stock of international reserves rose to 24.2 Namibian dollars billion from 22.3 billion as of March 31, "thereby sufficient to sustain the currency peg between the Namibia dollar and the South African rand," the bank said.

 

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