UPDATE 2-Ghana inflation dips in Sept as harvest begins

* Policy rate likely to remain flat in November

* Lower prices expected next month

* Pricing pressures could pick up towards year-end

(Adds quotes, details) By Kwasi Kpodo

ACCRA, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Ghana's annual inflation dipped to9.4 percent in September from 9.5 percent a month before as theharvest got underway and moderated food prices, the statisticaloffice said on Wednesday.

A stable economic outlook in the West African oil, cocoa,and gold producer nation has led analysts to predict the centralbank will hold its prime interest rate steady at 15 percentuntil at least the end of the year.

Acting government statistician Philomena Nyarko said lowerprices for local staples linked to harvesting accounted for themarginal decline in September. She said general price levelsslipped by 1.5 percent month-to-month and projected the trendwas likely to continue.

"We can say that we will have a lower month-on-monthinflation next month due to the impact of the harvest season,"Nyarko said.

The data showed food inflation stood at 4.4 percent lastmonth while non-food inflation was 12.4 percent, driven mainlyby transport costs.

Inflation rose throughout much of the year as Ghana's cedicurrency plunged versus the dollar in the first half of 2012 butsteadied in August as the local currency began to rebound.

"This first softening of inflation since February likelyreflects the almost 2 percent appreciation of the cedi againstthe dollar in September," said Yvonne Mhango of RenaissanceCapital. "We think this implies the policy rate is likely toremain flat at 15 percent until year-end 2012."

Ghana's rate-setting committee kept its prime rate unchangedin September, citing a balanced inflation and growth outlook.

Nii Ampa-Sowah of Accra-based Databank Group said that whilethe marginal fall in inflation had been expected, seasonal pricepressures would pick up towards year-end.

"In our view pricing pressures will pick up as corporatedemand for hard currency increases, along with the likely risein food prices which is typical in the last quarter of theyear," he said.

(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Joe Bavier and CatherineEvans)

((joe.bavier@thomsonreuters.com)(+225 07074101))

Keywords: GHANA CPI/

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