March 30, 2017 / 4:31 PM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 2-Egypt central bank leaves key interest rates unchanged

(Adds comments from statement in paragraph 4 and 5)

CAIRO, March 30 (Reuters) - Egypt’s central bank kept its key interest rates unchanged on Thursday at a meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee, it said in a statement.

The bank kept its overnight deposit rate at 14.75 percent and its overnight lending rate at 15.75 percent, the fourth consecutive meeting where it kept rates on hold since it aggressively hiked them in November.

The central bank ditched its foreign exchange peg of 8.8 pounds per dollar in early November and, to help stabilise the newly floated currency, raised interest rates by 300 basis points.

In a statement following the rate decision, the central bank said annual inflation was expected to ease as monthly inflation rates moderate.

“Consistent with the inflation outlook and the targeted disinflation path, the MPC judges that the key CBE rates are currently appropriate,” the bank said.

Egypt had been struggling with a shortage of foreign currency since an uprising in 2011 drove away tourists and foreign investors, both major sources of hard currency.

In November it sealed a $12 billion, three-year loan from the International Monetary Fund to support its economic reform programme. (Reporting by Maha El-Dahan; Editing by Dominic Evans)

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