Central bank maintains key discount rate at 7.5 per cent

The central bank has maintained the key repo rate at 7.5 per cent. The repo is the discount rate at which a central bank repurchases government securities from commercial banks, depending on the level of money supply it decides to maintain in the country’s monetary system.

The central bank has maintained the key repo rate at 7.5 per cent. The repo is the discount rate at which a central bank repurchases government securities from commercial banks, depending on the level of money supply it decides to maintain in the country’s monetary system.

John Rwangombwa, the National Bank of Rwanda governor, said the monetary policy committee had reviewed key developments and outlook in economic and financial fundamentals at the global and national levels, and found no need to change the rate either way.

“The macro-economic environment is stable following a high economic growth of 8 per cent recorded in 2012 and low inflation of 4.8 per cent registered in February and a stable franc,” he said.

The committee noted that despite the uncertainties in the global economic environment, the debt crisis in the Eurozone and fiscal challenges in the US, there were notable recovery signs in the global arena.

Rwangombwa said the financial sector was strong and resilient to adverse changes due to adequate capitalisation of financial institutions.

Rwandan banks had an overall capital adequacy ratio of 23.9 per cent at the end of last year, which was above the regulatory minimum requirement of 15 per cent, he said.

The ratio of non-performing loans to gross loans in the country’s banking sector improved from 8 per cent in December 2011 to 6.1 per cent in 2012.

Total banking sector assets increased by 15 per cent, while deposits grew by 15.2 per cent over the same period.

The central bank noted that inflation has been low, despite moderate fluctuations associated with seasonality of the domestic food production, a key driver of inflation in Rwanda and school fees.

From 3.9 per cent in December 2012, the inflation increased slightly to 5.6 per cent in January 2013, before dropping to 4.8 per cent in February.

On the exchange rate, the central bank vice-governor, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, said the Rwandan franc was relatively stable against the major international currencies in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the second-half of 2012.

The franc had depreciated by 4.9 per cent in February on a year-on-year basis compared to 4.5 per cent in December.

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