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Lusa - Business News - Angola: Central bank's currency injections up 150% last week

Luanda, Nov. 13 (Lusa) - The sale of foreign currency by the National Bank of Angola (BNA) to commercial banks increased by over 150% last week, compared to the previous week, to €203.7 million, essentially to guarantee food imports.
The information is included in the BNA's weekly report on the money and foreign exchange markets between 6 and 10 November, and follows €80.1 million and €74.5 million made available to the banking sector in the previous two weeks.
According to the document, to which Lusa had access on Monday, the currencies sold - exclusively in euros for over 18 months - equivalent to US$227.6 million, covered food imports, in the amount of €158.5 million.
Some €8.8 million euros were provided to ensure imports to the industrial sector and €4.5 million to cover operations of the telecommunications sector, among others.
The average becnhmark exchange rate on the primary foreign exchange market at the end of the last week remained unchanged at 166.748 kwanzas for each dollar and at 186.302 kwanzas for each euro, with no significant changes for the last 18 months.
On the black market, the only alternative, albeit an illegal one, given the lack of foreign exchange at banks, each US dollar costs around 420 kwanzas.
On 30 October the new Angolan President, João Lourenço, instated José de Lima Massano as governor of the BNA, replacing, at his request, Valter Filipe, who had been in office since March 2016.
Angola has faced a financial and economic crisis since the end of 2014, with a sharp drop in oil export revenues due to lower international oil prices, and several austerity measures that have been put in place.
This situation led to a sharp fall in the inflow of foreign currency into the country and limitations on access to foreign currency at bank branches, making imports particularly difficult.
Additionally, due to the suspension of bank correspondent agreements to buy dollars since 2016, Angolan banks can only buy foreign currency from the BNA (euros).
Currency management was one of the issues highlighted in the state of the nation, address by Angolan President João Lourenço in the National Assembly on 16 October.
At a time when the Angolan Net International Reserves (RIL) - reserves in foreign currency necessary to guarantee imports - are in sharp decline due to the financial, economic and foreign exchange crisis that the country is experiencing, Lourenço pointed out the need for reserves to be protected, but without undermining economic recovery.
"We will find the best mechanisms so that the scarce available currencies will not only benefit a small group of companies and will benefit the large importers of consumer goods and raw materials and equipment that guarantee the development of domestic production," he said.
"It is important to stop the direct sale of foreign currency being a covert form of capital export, without the corresponding benefit to the country," added the President.


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2017-11-14 09:06:32


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