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Africa, Forex

Nigeria’s central bank holds benchmark lending rate at 13.5 pct

ABUJA (Reuters) – The Nigerian central bank’s monetary committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to hold its benchmark interest rate at 13.5% because key macroeconomic indicators were “trending in the right direction”, governor Godwin Emefiele said.

Most analysts polled by Reuters had predicted no change, though they said the central bank would probably ease in September. [nL8N24N1J3]

The central bank also left the benchmark rate at 13.5% at its previous meeting in May after a surprise cut of 50 basis points in March.

Emefiele said that rate cut was part of an attempt to stimulate growth in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, and to signal a “new direction”.

(Reporting by Chijioke Ohoucha in Abuja, Alexis Akwagyiram and Libby George in Lagos; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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