Kuwait inflation to keep falling in 2013 -c.bank chief

KUWAIT, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Kuwaiti inflation will slow to

4.3 percent this year and 4.1 percent next year from 4.8 percent

in 2011, central bank governor Mohammed al-Hashel predicted on

Saturday in comments carried by state news agency KUNA.

Inflation in the major oil exporter has been slowing

gradually since mid-2011, mostly due to lower food prices.

Consumer prices rose 2.3 percent from a year earlier in

November.

Non-performing loans at Kuwaiti banks amounted to around 6.8

percent of total credit portfolios in the first nine months of

this year, Hashel said, adding that the banks had set aside

provisions totalling 82.2 percent of the NPLs.

Kuwaiti banks took heavy provisions earlier this year,

eating into first-half profits, as political conflict between

the cabinet and parliament threatened to undermine the economy.

In early October, Hashel announced a 50 basis point cut in

interest rates as part of the central bank's efforts to

kickstart bank lending.

In his comments on Saturday, he said the cut, the first

since 2010, would not have negative consequences for Kuwait's

currency, the dinar.

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