LUANDA, March 5 (Reuters) – Angola has appointed Valter Filipe da Silva as its new central bank governor after José Pedro de Morais resigned, the president’s office said in a statement on Saturday.
The economy of Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil exporter after Nigeria, has been hammered by the oil price fall, and the government is in talks with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund about possible financial assistance.
Rating agency Moody’s put Angola’s Ba2 government bond and issuer ratings on review for downgrade late on Friday night to assess the impact of the fall in prices for oil, on which the country relies for more than 90 percent of its foreign exchange revenues.
Da Silva, a little-known entity in financial circles who had been working as a lawyer in the vice-president’s office, will take over the central bank with the kwanza currency having lost more than a third of its value since the start of 2015.
The bank raised its benchmark lending rate by 100 basis points to 12 percent on Feb. 1 in the wake of the slide in the value of the kwanza. It then left rates on hold after a meeting at the end of February.
Moody’s said it could take up to two months to assess the credibility and sustainability of Luanda’s plans and its ability to mitigate the impact of the oil price fall.
Da Silva’s appointment was announced together with a cabinet reshuffle by the president involving the ministers of housing, health, commerce, construction and culture.
De Morais held the post of central bank governor for 14 months. (Reporting by Herculano Coroado; Writing by TJ Strydom; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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