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Sep 20, 2012

Interest rates remain unchanged

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Pretoria|Africa|Africa|Bank|Gill Marcus
|Africa|Africa||
pretoria|africa-company|africa|bank|gill-marcus



The South African Reserve Bank's (SARB) Monetary Policy Committee has opted to leave interest rates unchanged, the bank's governor Gill Marcus said on Thursday.

"The monetary policy committee is of the view that a further reduction in the repo rate would not be appropriate at this stage," she said at a televised press conference in Pretoria.

The repo rate would be left unchanged at 5% a year.

This is the rate at which commercial banks can borrow money from the SARB.

It is used to calculate the prime rate, which banks give their best customers.

Marcus said the global growth outlook remained weak.

South Africa's trade deficit in the balance of payments posed a risk to the exchange rate.

If the rand weakened further, inflation was likely to increase as a result.

Although consumer demand was unlikely to impact on inflation, supply-side shocks were possible.

Higher food prices and resilient international oil prices could not only impact on inflation, but act as a drag on growth in the near term.

"This is a combination which poses enormous challenges for monetary policy," she said.

The United Democratic Movement said the SARB had made a prudent decision.

"The SARB had to consider a number of economic performance indicators such as the slight increase in the inflation rate, an improved economic growth performance together with the Eurozone crisis, to keep the South African economy on a steady course," it said in a statement.

Edited by: Sapa
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