Sri Lanka keeps rates steady at multi-yr lows; hopes credit growth to rebound from Q2

COLOMBO, March 21 Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:22pm EDT

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COLOMBO, March 21 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's central bank kept policy rates steady at multi-year lows on Friday, as expected, and said it hopes for a rebound in private sector credit growth, which fell 5.2 percent year-on-year in January from 7.5 percent a month ago.

"However, the Monetary Board is of the view that the deceleration of the growth in credit to the private sector is temporary," the central bank said in a statement.

" ... going forward, private sector credit is likely to rebound from the second quarter of the year, supported by declining market lending rates, sufficient liquidity levels and increased demand for exports from the advanced economies."

The repurchase rate and reverse repurchase rate were left at 6.50 percent and 8.00 percent, respectively. A Reuters poll of thirteen analysts had expected the central bank to keep the monetary policy rates unchanged. (Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Paul Tait)