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Congo’s Central Bank Leaves Benchmark Rate at 22%

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- The Democratic Republic of Congo’s central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 22 percent, saying inflation in 2010 will be lower than the target it announced at the start of the year.

Inflation is expected to average 8.8 percent, compared with an earlier target of 15 percent, the Central Bank of Congo’s Monetary Policy Committee said in a statement e-mailed today from Kinshasa, the capital. The bank cut its benchmark interest rate this year by almost 50 percentage points.

Congo’s macroeconomic situation is “relatively calm,” Jean-Louis Kayembe wa Kayembe, the committee’s vice-president, said, according to the statement.

Congo, which holds a third of the world’s cobalt reserves and 4 percent of all copper, expects its economy to grow by more than 6 percent this year, boosted by higher commodity prices, Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito said Sept. 16.

In July, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank agreed on a debt relief package that reduced Congo’s annual debt service by more than $520 million, according to budget ministry.

Congo is recovering from more than a decade and a half of conflict that destroyed most of its infrastructure and left its economy in disarray.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael J. Kavanagh in Kinshasa at mkavanagh9@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

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