Uganda’s central bank reduced its benchmark interest rate by 100 basis points for a third consecutive time, to 14 percent, citing an unfavorable growth outlook due to global economic uncertainty.
While warning that drought may hurt food prices, a major component on the inflation index, the monetary policy committee expects both headline and core inflation to slow toward 5 percent by the end of 2016, Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile said.
“Given that inflation is forecast to stabilize around the policy target of 5 percent over the next six months, the Bank of Uganda believes that a continued easing of monetary policy is warranted,” he told reporters in the capital, Kampala.
The reduction will support economic growth through a recovery of private sector credit, he said. The nation’s economy will expand by a projected 5.5 percent in the financial year through June 2017, compared with an estimate of 4.6 percent in 2015-16.
Economic growth in Africa’s biggest coffee exporter slowed to 3.5 percent in the first three months of the year as agriculture and industrial output growth decelerated. Its inflation rate rose by 5.1 percent in July, slower than the 5.9 percent registered in June, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.
“While continued foreign exchange stability will be key to the Ugandan rate outlook, this stance — clearly influencing expectations — is nonetheless somewhat unusual for the BoU,” Standard Chartered’s head of Africa macro research, Razia Khan, said in a note.
The Uganda shilling is unchanged against the dollar this year, after depreciating 18 percent in 2015.