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Namibia Central Bank Keeps Key Rate at 6% to Boost Economy

Namibia’s central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged for a sixth consecutive meeting to help boost economic growth even as inflation accelerated.

The repo rate was kept at 6 percent, Bank of Namibia Governor Ipumbu Shiimi told reporters today in the capital, Windhoek. The bank’s Monetary Policy Committee has held the rate unchanged this year after reducing it at the last two meetings of 2010.

The economy of Namibia, the world’s biggest miner of offshore diamonds and the fourth-largest producer of uranium, will probably miss an initial growth forecast of 4.1 percent for 2011 as expansion in neighboring South Africa slows, according to the central bank.

“The domestic economy continues to grow a slow pace, particularly in the primary sector,” Shiimi said. “Most of the key mineral exports displayed a bleak performance during October 2011.”

The decision is in line with the central bank of South Africa, which kept its benchmark rate at 5.5 percent last month. Namibia’s currency is pegged to the South African rand and the central bank generally follows monetary policy set by the South African Reserve Bank.

Inflation in Namibia climbed to 6.1 percent in October, the fastest pace since February last year, as food and fuel costs increased, the statistics office said on Nov. 15.

While the central bank had noted the acceleration in inflation, price increases will probably stay “moderate,” Shiimi said. A $500 million Eurobond sold in October attracted bids of $2.7 billion, he said.

Namibia’s President Hifikepunye Pohamba re-appointed Shiimi as governor for another five-year term and named Ebson Uanguta as the bank’s deputy governor to replace Paul Hartmann, who will retire, the bank said in a statement.

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