November 22, 2018 / 1:44 PM / 20 days ago

UPDATE 1-Nigeria's central bank holds benchmark lending rate at 14 pct

(Adds details)

By Chijioke Ohuocha and Camillus Eboh

ABUJA, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Nigeria’s central bank kept its main interest rate at 14 percent on Thursday, its governor Godwin Emefiele said.

The rate has been at the record high level of 14 percent since July 2016. Analysts polled by Reuters predicted that the bank would hold interest rates at 14 percent and continue to do so through 2019.

Emefiele said all of the 11 members of the monetary policy committee who met voted to hold the rate.

Nigeria emerged from its first recession in 25 years in 2017 but continues to suffer from sluggish growth and high inflation.

“A hold position is an expression of confidence in the policy regime, given the gradual improvement in both output growth and price stability,” Emefiele said.

Economic growth dipped to 1.50 percent in the second quarter, continuing a slowing trend that began in the first quarter.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in 2015 partly on promises to revive the economy, is seeking a second term in elections to be held in February 2019. (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha and Camillus Eboh in Abuja Additional reporting by Didi Akinyelure in Lagos; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Andrew Roche)

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