South Africa-Economy

S/Africa’s repo rate unchanged at 6.75% - Apex Bank

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

The South African Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee has unanimously decided to keep the repurchase rate unchanged at 6.75% per year, SARB Governor Lesetja Kganyago has said.

Briefing the media in Pretoria on Thursday, Kganyago said the monetary policy actions would continue to focus on anchoring inflation expectations closer to the mid-point of the inflation target, in the interest of balanced and sustainable growth.

He said since November 2018, international developments have been the major contributor to an improved inflation outlook.

“Significant declines in international oil prices and a less depreciated exchange rate have been key drivers of this improved outlook. Domestic petrol prices decreased by a cumulative 26 cents per litre in December and January.

“Lower food price inflation also contributed to lower consumer price inflation. The economy’s recovery from technical recession in the first half of 2018 is welcomed, but it remains modest, with growth constrained by subdued demand as a result of weaker levels of consumer and business confidence.”

According to the apex bank governor, headline CPI inflation is now expected to peak at around 5.6% in the first quarter of 2020. Core inflation is expected remain unchanged at 4.3% in 2018 and forecast to average 5.0% in 2019 (down from 5.3%), 5.1% in 2020 (down from 5.5%) and 4.8% in 2021. Kganyago said the domestic growth outlook remained sluggish.

“Although GDP increased by 2.2% in the third quarter of 2018, private sector fixed investment remains weak and production in key sectors is volatile. The SARB now expects growth in 2018 to have averaged 0.7% (up from 0.6% in November).”

The growth forecast for 2019 is 1.7% (down from 1.9%), it is unchanged at 2.0% for 2020 and increases to 2.2% in 2021, Kganyago added.

                                                  

NM/afm/APA

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