Nigeria's central bank holds benchmark lending rate at 12.5 pct


By Alexis Akwagyiram

LAGOS, July 20 (Reuters) - Nigeria's central bank held its benchmark lending rate at 12.5%, the governor said on Monday, adding that members of the monetary policy committee wanted to assess the impact of a 100-basis-point rate cut at the last meeting.

Godwin Emefiele said eight of the 10 committee members voted to retain the rate and two voted for a rate cut.

In May the bank unexpectedly cut the rate by 100 basis points to 12.5% from 13.5%. It was the largest rate cut since 2015.

"The committee was mindful of the cut in policy rate at the last MPC (committee) meeting and the need to allow time for its effect to permeate the economy," said Emefiele.

Emefiele said the rate cut was having a "positive impact" as credit growth had increased significantly in the economy.

(Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Alison Williams/Mark Heinrich)

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