Nigerian central bank holds benchmark lending rate at 11.5%

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Automobiles drive past the headquarters of the Nigerian central bank in Abuja, Nigeria, on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. Revenue in Nigeria has fallen short of the government target by at least 45% every year since 2015, and shortfalls have been funded through increased borrowing. Photographer: KC Nwakalor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Automobiles drive past the headquarters of the Nigerian central bank in Abuja, Nigeria, on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020.  Photographer: KC Nwakalor/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday held its benchmark lending rate at 11.5 percent, according to its governor Godwin Emefiele.

Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, the last of 2020, the bank had earlier cut the rate by 100 basis points in May and also in September when the rate lowered to the current level.

All members of the monetary policy committee had voted to stick to the rate, according to Emefiele.

“Members voted in line with the most pressing need towards reversing the recession and achieving medium-term macroeconomic stability,” he added.

The governor also stated that the bank was “cautiously optimistic” of positive growth in the fourth quarter of the year and expected the country to come out of recession in the first quarter of 2021.

Africa’s biggest economy has fallen into its second recession in four years, according to the gross domestic product figures for the third quarter published on Saturday, with the COVID-19 pandemic and low oil prices taking their toll.

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