(Bloomberg) -- Namibia’s central bank held its key interest rate and said that the economy will probably expand in 2019 after two straight years of contraction.

The Monetary Policy Committee maintained the rate at 6.75 percent, Deputy Governor Ebson Uanguta told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Windhoek.

The economy of the world’s largest marine-diamond producer contracted last year, but the drop was smaller than in 2017, Uanguta said, adding that the numbers will be released in the next few weeks. Gross domestic product will probably expand this year, led by “bright spots” including transport, he said. GDP could grow 1.1 percent this year, Fitch Solutions said in January.

The southern African nation’s economy contracted for a tenth straight quarter in the three months through September, complicating the task of the central bank as it seeks to contain inflation that accelerated to the highest in more than a year. Growth in consumer prices will likely average about 5.6 percent this year, Uanguta said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kaula Nhongo in Johannesburg at knhongo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rene Vollgraaff at rvollgraaff@bloomberg.net, Ana Monteiro

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