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.
(Reporting By Ahmed Hagagy; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Andrew Torchia) Keywords: KUWAIT ECONOMY/CENTRALBANK
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