Monday, September 29, 2014

Angola maintains rate, kwanza eases, inflation steady

    Angola's central bank maintained its Basic Interest Rate (BNA) at 8.75 percent, noting a slight rise in August inflation, a depreciation in the kwanza's exchange rate, a strong rise in currency sales and a continued increase in credit to the economy.
    The National Bank of Angola (BNA) cut its BNA rate by 50 basis points on July 28 to boost credit to the economy as it expects the recent downtrend in inflation to continue. The BNA also reduced the rate on its standing lending facility by 25 basis points to 9.75 percent while it maintained the rate for absorbing liquidity at 1.75 percent.
   Angola's inflation rate rose slightly to 6.98 percent in August from July's 6.89 percent with an increase in food and non-alcoholic beverages of 0.25 percentage points accounting for the largest contribution to inflation.
    Angola's inflation rate has been trending downward since October 2010 when it topped 16 percent and since August 2012 inflation has been below 10 percent, one of the central bank's long-standing objectives.
    Earlier this month the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said inflation was projected to reach 7.5 percent by the end of this year, well within the BNA's objective. Inflation was expected to rise due to  one-off effects on new tariffs on imports before continuing the downtrend through 2015 and beyond.

    The BNA said credit to the economy hit 3.304 billion kwanza in August, an increase of 18.90 percent in the last 12 months.
    Total sales of currency in the foreign exchange market amounted to US$ 23.953 billion from January through August, an increase of 40.62 percent from the same 2013 period. 
    The average exchange rate of the kwanza depreciated by 0.54 percent in August from July, with a rate of 97.61 to the dollar. Today, the kwanza was quoted at 98.299, down from 97.61 at the beginning of the year.
    Angola's foreign exchange reserves declined to $28.67 billion in July from $29.57 billion in June, according to central bank data.
    Angola's economy, which depends on crude oil exports for over 90 percent of its foreign exchange income, is estimated to expand by 3.9 percent this year despite lower oil output after growth estimated at 6.8 percent in 2013, according to the IMF.
    Rising activity in the country's non-oil sector, including the agricultural sector, is expected to help offset the drop in oil production, with investments in agriculture helping boost production by about 11.5 percent this year.
    The country's medium-term growth prospects are considered favorable by the IMF with the oil sector expected to recover and expand by 2.5 percent on average over the next five years. 
    The non-oil sector is forecast to grow by about 7.75 percent on average over the next five years, helping boost domestic competition and thus reduce inflation further.


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