The Executive Board held its periodic meeting on Thursday 21 March 2019, and examined the issues scheduled in its agenda. The Board reviewed recent developments of the economic, financial and monetary situation and noted an improvement in the pace of the economic activity which went up by 2.5% in 2018 against 1.9% a year earlier, thanks to a favorable agricultural season and a good performance of the services sector. However, the industrial sector remains affected by a decline in fuel and mining production.

On another level, the Board recorded a faster growth pace  of the consumer price index, which reached 7.3% in annual shift during February 2019, compared to 7.1% on month earlier, and this following an 8.2% increase  in foodstuff inflation (compared to 7.1% a year before), contrary  to manufacturing industries, which maintained a high level (8.7% against 8.9%). In this respect, the Board indicated that this situation requires ongoing monitoring of sources of inflation, further coordination between economic policies and activation of appropriate mechanisms to counteract risks.

With regard to recent developments in the external sector, the Board expressed an ongoing concern about the level of the trade deficit in the first two months of 2019; while the current account deficit decreased slightly to 1.642 MTD and 1.4% of GDP, compared to 1.802MTD and 1.7% in the same period of the previous year. For net assets in foreign currency, their level reached 14,585 MTD or 86 days of import as of 19 March, compared to 13,974 MTD or 84 days of import at the end of 2018.

The Board went also through the situation of the banking sector, its activity, the financial balances and means of developing its capacity for financing the national economy.

The Board considered auditors’ reports on the Central Bank’s financial statements audit with respect to 2018 and internal control procedures and approved the audited financial statements, while outlining the Permanent Audit Commission’s recommendations.

After discussions and deliberations on the above-mentioned issues, the Board underlined the need to continue to closely monitor the evolution of financial and monetary indicators and decided to keep unchanged the key interest rate of the Central Bank.