LONDON Dec 9 Angola does not need to devalue
its currency at the moment but will work on measures to lessen
the gap between the formal and informal exchange rates, central
bank governor Valter Filipe da Silva told Reuters.
Angola's economy has been suffering from the drop in crude
prices and an acute hard currency crunch, fuelling a thriving
black market for the currency of Africa's second largest oil
exporter after Nigeria.
The bank currently quotes the kwanza at around 165
per dollar, although the currency typically trades at much
weaker levels in the black market.
The kwanza devalued by more than 30 percent last year and in
January was allowed another 15 percent weakening to 155 after
which it has slipped gradually lower.
Speaking to the sidelines of a meeting at think-tank Chatham
House on Thursday, da Silva said policymakers had needed to
focus first on stabilising hard-currency availability for food,
medicine and raw material imports, then on managing the monetary
base but also on synchronising fiscal and monetary policy.
"What we will do this month in the monetary policy committee
of the central bank is to discuss the matter," said da Silva,
speaking in Portuguese.
"But ... because we are having a very positive monetary
policy, the inflation rate is slowing, the differential gap is
narrowing - therefore, we understand that it isn't necessary at
this moment to devalue the currency," said da Silva.
In November, the central bank kept its benchmark lending
rate unchanged at 16 percent, citing slowing price increases.
Inflation rose by 2.14 percent in September month-on-month, but
that was a slowdown from the more than 4 percent increase in
Speaking about recent oil price rises, da Silva said it was
more important for the southern African country to concentrate
on overhauling the state oil firm Sonangol.
"It is evident that this rise in oil prices may not be
structural. More important for Angola is that the country does
profound work in restructuring Sonangol - what is taking place
is positive and should reduce the cost of oil exploration."
Isabel Dos Santos, daughter of Angolan President Jose Dos
Santos, took over as CEO of the state energy giant in June and
has pledged to spin off non-core investments such as banking and
real estate and to focus on the bottom line.
(Additional reporting by Herculano Coroado in Luanda; editing
by Mark Heinrich)