Egypt's central bank keeps key interest rates steady
Adds background, monetary committee quote
CAIRO, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Egypt's central bank left its key overnight interest rates unchanged on Thursday, unexpectedly halting an easing cycle that began in August.
The bank kept its deposit rate steady at 12.25% and its lending rate at 13.25%, the bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) said in a statement.
Eight out of 11 economists surveyed by Reuters had expected the bank to cut rates. Of those, four saw a 50 basis point cut and four a 100 bps cut.
The bank cut rates at each of its previous three MPC meetings as inflation abated, with urban consumer price inflation decelerating to as little as 3.1% in October.
But in December, inflation rebounded to 7.1% year-on-year from 3.6% in November as favourable base-year effects wore off.
"Following the cumulative reduction of 350 basis points over the previous three MPC meetings, the MPC decided that keeping key policy rates unchanged remains consistent with achieving the inflation target of 9 percent (±3 percentage points) in 2020 Q4 and price stability over the medium term," the statement said.
(Reporting by Amina Ismail, writing by Patrick Werr and Chris Reese; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
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