UPDATE: Egypt’s central bank keeps benchmark rates unchanged

Egypt's central bank kept its benchmark interest rates unchanged at a monetary policy committee meeting on Thursday.

The overnight deposit rate remains 8.75 percent and the overnight lending rate is steady at 9.75, the bank said in a statement.

All five economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast that the bank would keep interest rates on hold.

In the statement, the bank's sub-governor for monetary policy noted the bank had balanced improved economic growth in the second half of last year against rising inflation from volatile food items.

"At this juncture, the MPC judges that the key CBE rates are currently appropriate given the balance of risks surrounding the inflation and GDP outlooks," Rania Al-Mashat said.

The bank has now held rates steady following two consecutive meetings after surprising analysts with a 50 basis point cut in January.

Price pressures eased in November but have crept back up since, in part due to a weaker Egyptian pound.

Urban consumer inflation rose to 11.5 percent in March from 10.6 percent the previous month and core inflation ticked up to 7.21 percent from 7.15 percent.

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