Namibia cbank holds rates steady, GDP gr

February 21 [Thu], 2013, 5:48
WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Namibia's central bank left its key lending rate unchanged at 5.5 percent for the third meeting running on Wednesday, keeping rates low to support economic growth, Deputy Governor Ebson Uanguta said.

The bank last cut rates in August last year to prop up an economy hit by the global economic slowdown. Domestic growth is seen at 4.4 percent in 2013 from 4.6 percent last year, the Bank of Namibia said on Wednesday.

Inflation was seen remaining within "tolerable" levels for this year, while non-productive credit had slowed down in favour of credit extension to the private sector, the Bank said.

"It is against this backdrop that the monetary policy committee continues to hold the view that the current low interest rate environment should be maintained in order to ensure that growth is supported in the local economy," Uanguta told a press conference.

The southern African country is one of the world's biggest diamond producers and a major source of uranium, but a global recession has slowed demand for its commodities.