Growth outlook reduced to 2.8%

Tunisia’s government had cut its economic growth forecast to 2.8 percent for this year, which was in line with the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) forecast, Finance Minister Hakim Ben Hamouda said yesterday, after meeting with a delegation from the organisation. The government had previously forecast 4 percent growth. But the government still faces the challenge of reducing a wide budget deficit, securing enough external financing and tackling the subsidy reforms and public spending cuts demanded by its international lenders. Tunisia’s economy grew 2.6 percent last year. – Reuters


Centamin posts 1% profit rise

Egypt-focused gold producer Centamin was on track to boost output further, it said yesterday as it posted a 1 percent rise in full-year core profit as increased output offset a sharp fall in gold prices. Many gold producers have been battered by last year’s 28 percent dive in bullion prices, which caught them by surprise and put balance sheets under pressure. Centamin, however, was able to offset a 17 percent drop in its average realised prices last year with a 36 percent output increase to 357 000 ounces, beating its production targets, the company said. – Reuters


Bank likely to maintain rates

Nigeria’s central bank is likely to maintain a tight monetary policy at its interest-rate meeting today, to curb liquidity in the economy and support its currency, despite the ousting of its governor last month. The meeting will be the first of the monetary policy committee since Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan suspended central bank governor Lamido Sanusi, a monetary policy hawk, and it will be closely monitored by foreign investors, analysts say. Six out of 10 economists polled expect the central bank to keep rates on hold at 12 percent. Analysts at Renaissance Capital expect a 0.5 percentage point hike. – Reuters