Congo central bank predicts steep rise in 2017 inflation

KINSHASA, July 27 (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo's central bank said on Thursday it expects inflation for this year to stand at 44.64 percent, up from a previous forecast of 33.12 percent and a 20 percentage point rise over last year.

Persistently low commodity prices and high government deficits have caused the franc currency in Africa's top copper producer to shed roughly 40 percent of its value in the past year and driven accelerating inflation.

(Reporting by Aaron Ross; Editing by Nellie Peyton and Alison Williams)