West African Union Sets Lending-Rate Cap at 15 Percent From 2014

The West African Economic and Monetary Union, an eight-member group striving to create a system of regional lenders, capped its lending-rate ceiling for commercial banks at 15 percent from next year.

The maximum lending rate for other financial-service providers will be set at 24 percent from Jan. 1, according to a statement the union e-mailed yesterday from the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

Inflation in the zone slowed to 2 percent in May from 2.8 percent in December as prices of local cereals declined, according to the statement.

Economic growth in the bloc that includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Guinea-Bissau is forecast at 6.5 percent this year from 6.4 percent in 2012, the Central Bank of West African States said last month. They share a common currency known as the CFA franc, which is pegged to the euro.

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