Ghana's central bank holds benchmark policy rate at 26.0 percent

Pedestrians walk in front of Ghana's central bank building in Accra, Ghana, November 16, 2015. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko/File Photo

ACCRA (Reuters) - Ghana’s central bank held its benchmark policy rate at 26.0 percent on Monday as expected and said inflation should come down towards government targets faster than expected.

The Bank’s decision to hold the rate for a fifth successive time is in line with steps taken by authorities to stabilize the macro-economy of the West African country and reduce inflation, which rose slightly to 16.9 percent in August.

“The committee noted the moderation in headline inflation since the July meeting on the back of continued cedi stability, easing inflation pressures and tight credit conditions,” Governor Abdul-Nashiru Issahaku told a news conference at the end of a Monetary Policy Committee review meeting.

Ghana signed a three-year aid program in April 2015 with the International Monetary Fund to restore fiscal balance to an economy dogged by deficits, public debt and high interest rates with inflation above the government’s 2016 target of 11 percent.

The country is due to hold an election on Dec. 7 at which President John Mahama will vie for a second and final four-year term, but Issahaku said the vote was not a concern for monetary policy.

Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Andrew Heavens