NAIROBI - Kenya's central bank considers the threat from inflation the "number one evil" and is determined to prevent it from becoming entrenched, the bank's governor said on Friday.

Policymakers hiked the benchmark lending rate by 75 basis points on Thursday.

"Inflation is the priority, dealing with it," Patrick Njoroge told a news conference. "If the inflation monster is killed soon, then we will reverse policy."

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Catherine Evans)