January 2, 2019 / 2:53 PM / a month ago

REFILE-UPDATE 1-Deputy governor of South Africa's central bank resigns

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JOHANNESBURG, Jan 2 (Reuters) - The deputy governor of South Africa’s central bank, Francois Groepe, has resigned to pursue other opportunities, the bank said on Monday.

Groepe, who will leave his post at the end of January, resigns just two years after being re-appointed for a second five-year term, following debate over the direction of South Africa’s monetary policy.

In a statement, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) thanked Groepe for his 14 years of service and wished him well.

“The process of appointing Mr Groepe’s successor is currently under way,” it said.

The SARB has come under pressure from lawmakers to use monetary policy to foster growth in South Africa’s flagging economy and match rate hikes in other emerging markets, in response to tightening in the United States.

The bank raised its benchmark lending rate for the first time in nearly three years in November, which it said was to counter the risk of longer-term higher inflation. It maintained South Africa’s economic problems are primarily structural.

Meanwhile, Julius Malema, of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters, has called for the bank to be nationalised, putting pressure on the ruling African National Congress to go through with a plan it shelved last year and rattling markets.

Groepe has served as deputy governor of the SARB since 2012. (Reporting by Emma Rumney; editing by John Stonestreet)

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