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SARB leaves key charge steady but warns of inflation pitfalls

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Governor Lesetja Kganyago

PRETORIA – South Africa’s core bank kept lending rates unchanged during 7% on Thursday nevertheless warned that rising cost of living risks might steer it to rethink its view that any tightening cycle was coming to a close.

Governor Lesetja Kganyago told reporters that food costs were not easing as fast as expected, a situation that could have to be watched. Recommendations reviews in the next 2 weeks could also hurt this currency, he said.

“This MPC (Monetary Policy Board) remains concerned the inflation trajectory can be uncomfortably close to the upper end of the goal range,” Kganyago said.

“While the committee retains the scene that we may be at the end of the trekking cycle, there may be a reassessment of this position should really upside risks happen.”

The bank targets inflation of between 3-6% but a couple of drought, low market growth and a weakening currency have stored consumer prices raised.

The bank left it has the growth forecast stable at 0.4% for 2016, adding that the decreased point of the economic spiral had passed.

Chief professional for Africa with Capital Economics John Ashbourne said the bank’azines tone was more hawkish than expected.

“Policymakers seem to be rowing back their particular claim that the tightening cycle is coming to a finish,” Ashbourne said. “We assume that policy-makers will only raise rates again in the event of a sharp fall within the rand against the US dollar.”

South Africa has been stuck in political turmoil this year, most recently once an anti-graft watchdog believed influence-peddling in President Jake Zuma’s govenrment. Zuma has waived any wrongdoing.

Financial markets seemed to be rattled by allegations of political meddling once the state prosecutor brought fraud charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, next reversed the decision after an outcry.

The rand sunk to 18.995 against the dollar around January and is downward nearly 12% for the year or so.

Analysts said it may become weak further as the Us embarks on an expansionist fiscal coverage under president-elect Donald Trump and raises rates, lessening capital flows in order to emerging markets, as well as South Africa.

Speaking a day well before a ratings critique by Moody’s, Kganyago proclaimed the rand would be sensitive to any changes.

South Cameras faces possible credit downgrades to junk that Treasury warns could shove borrowing costs better, sink the foreign money and hurt presently ailing growth.

Moody’s will review a Baa2 rating, which is only two notches above bass speaker investment grade, on Friday, while S&S Global Ratings as well as Fitch, both of which rate Africa just one rung above “junk” status, are expected to provide their verdicts in a month’s time.

“The rand is expected to remain sensitive to changes in setup of US monetary policy… (and also) will also remain responsive to the sovereign ratings notices due later this specific month and at the start of December,” Kganyago said.

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