Interest Rate Hikes Expected In Angola, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa

Interest Rate Hikes Expected In Angola, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa

Angola, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa were expected this week to announce their first interest-rate decisions of the year, but schedules may be hard to keep when growth is deteriorating, currencies falling and inflation rising.

After raising its its benchmark interest rate three times in 2015 to curb inflation, Ghana on Monday left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 26 percent, Reuters reported.

The rate is the highest it’s been in 12 years after Ghana’s central bank raised rates from 25 percent in November.

In South Africa, economists are expecting a 50 basis-point hike to be announced Thursday, and a total 100 basis points in rate hikes in 2016, according to Fin24.

In Nigeria, pressure is mounting on the central bank of Nigeria to devalue the naira and ease foreign-currency controls that are said to be hurting businesses and worsening the outlook for growth in the country.

Nigeria cut the benchmark rate in November by 2 percentage points to 11 percent and ignored calls to weaken the currency, Bloomberg reported.

All but one of the 22 economists surveyed by Bloomberg predict that the key rate will remain unchanged. An announcement is expected today, according to ThePunch.

Angola’s central bank has postponed its monetary policy committee meeting, scheduled for today, until Jan. 29, according to a statement by the National Bank of Angola, CentralBankNews reported.

National Bank of Angola raised its benchmark basic interest rate by 200 basis points in 2015, including in December when it was raised by 50 points to 11.0 percent.

Angola’s inflation rate increased to 14.27 percent in December from 13.29 percent in November while the exchange rate of the kwanza was devalued by another 13 percent on Jan. 4 to around 155 per U.S. dollar. The rate had been about 135 since September.

Angola is Africa’s second largest crude oil exporter and relies on oil exports for almost all its foreign exchange earnings, CentralBankNews reports.