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Albania central bank maintains key rate

The council of Albania's central bank maintained its monetary policy rate at 1.25%, saying the bank's stance remains adequate for boosting growth and the sustainable return of inflation to its 3% target.

Banka e Shqipërisë also decided to keep the interest rates on overnight deposit and loan facilities on hold at 0.25% and 2.25%, respectively.

The central bank said inflation rose to 2.1% in February from 1.7% in January, with first-quarter inflation rising slightly, driven by higher food, water and rent prices.

Inflation remains below the target level despite increasing wages and production costs because production is running below capacity. In addition, the bank cited weak foreign pressures on prices and below-target inflation expectations. Inflation is expected to run at around 2.2% in 2018 and climb toward the target during 2019.

The bank also cited the positive performance of Albania's economy, driven by its monetary policy stance, improving confidence in the economy and rising foreign demand for Albanian goods and services.