Angola: Angolan kwanza reaches peaks and falls to valleys in 2022
The Angolan kwanza (AOA) has fallen by 19.5% against the U.S. dollar since October. This marks a significant turn of fate for the currency, which witnessed a 24.3% appreciation in the first half of the year. On 13 December, the AOA traded at 511 per USD, marking a 3.5% drop over the previous month. However, on the same day, the currency was up 12.6% year on year and 9.2% in year-to-date terms. The key determinants of the kwanza’s performance throughout this year have been the variable performance of its oil sector, and monetary policy.
The steep deterioration of the kwanza in Q4 contrasts with its appreciation in H1. The oil sector strengthened markedly as countries scrambled to find alternative sources of oil amid the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia, boosting the currency in turn.
Then, the kwanza took a downturn in October and November, chiefly due to monetary policy decisions and developments in the oil sector. On 26 September, the National Bank of Angola (BNA) delivered a 50 basis points cut, while most central banks around the world were engaged in hawkish cycles. This policy disparity was due to diverging inflation trends: In Angola, inflation was slowing thanks to the strengthening of the kwanza, while most of the world was facing rising price pressures due to the fallout of the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, a 16.5% drop in oil export revenue—as lower prices outweighed higher production—in Q3 added further downward pressure. When the currency began to depreciate rapidly, the BNA decided to change course, and paused its monetary policy easing on 25 November.
Looking at 2023, the AOA is seen close to current values as the National Bank of Angola adopts a more cautious approach and global oil prices regain some ground. That said, uncertainty regarding oil price movements remains elevated, and further price swings could take the kwanza along with them.