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Thursday, 23 November 2023 14:52

MPC decided to keep the repurchase rate at its current level of 8.25%.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The South African Reserve Bank's (SARB's) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has voted to hold interest rates for the third consecutive meeting.

This keeps the repo rate at 8.25%, with the prime lending rate at 11.75%.

"The decision was unanimous," "At the current repurchase rate level, policy is restrictive, consistent with the inflation outlook and elevated inflation expectations.

The result was in line with economist and analyst expectations, which shifted in recent weeks to align with the view that the rate hike cycle has peaked and that the next move by the bank will be a cut.

While a hold was widely expected, shock inflation numbers on Wednesday did let some doubt creep in among analysts, particularly with narrow votes to hold emanating from the previous two meetings.

Fortunately, the vote to hold interest rates was unanimous this time around, with all committee members agreeing on the move.

This comes as South Africa continues to face troubles with load shedding and logistical constraints, which generally increase costs, and expenditure pressure on households. Meanwhile, global markets are grappling with their own inflation issues, while global oil and commodity markets are also under pressure.

Overall, however, the bank sees the current economic environment as balanced – with the longer-term outlook more uncertain.

Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago said that while economic uncertainty persists in South Africa – and risks are to the upside – the current interest rate levels remain restrictive and are consistent with the inflation outlook.

The governor noted that South Africa's headline inflation rate has increased more gradually than in many other emerging and advanced economies but still remains sensitive to shocks.

Inflation surprised on the upside for October, with Stats SA recording headline CPI up to 5.9% from 5.4% in September. This was largely driven by rising fuel prices and sticky food inflation.

Watch Live in the video below:

Video Courtesy of SARB.