September 19, 2019 / 1:41 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa holds key rate in unanimous decision

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PRETORIA, Sept 19 (Reuters) - South Africa’s central bank left its main interest rate on hold at 6.5% on Thursday as expected, saying it would like to see inflation expectations anchored closer to the midpoint of its target range.

The decision by the bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC) was unanimous.

South Africa has seen benign inflation outcomes this year, but growth has been sluggish. That has piled pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has staked his reputation on lifting the economy out of a deep slump.

The South African Reserve Bank left its 2019 economic growth forecast unchanged at 0.6% but cut its forecasts for growth in 2020 and 2021 to 1.5% and 1.8%, respectively.

It repeated calls for structural reforms to raise potential growth rate, saying weakness in many sectors of the economy remained a cause for concern. (Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Tanisha Heiberg, Writing by Alexander Winning and Joe Bavier, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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