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Malawi central bank leaves benchmark rate at 21 pct

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Malawi's central bank said it would keep its benchmark interest rate at 21 percent as it balanced a lower growth outlook for 2012 and rising inflation.

"Domestic real GDP growth is estimated to slowdown to 1.6 percent in 2012, attributed largely to negative growth in agriculture and manufacturing sectors," the Reserve Bank Of Malawi said in a statement dated Oct. 3 but posted on its website on Thursday.

(Reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa; Editing by Tosin Sulaiman)

((stella.mapenzauswa@thomsonreuters.com; +27117753161; Reuters Messaging: stella.mapenzauswa.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MALAWI RATE/