The Reserve Bank monetary policy committee is likely to maintain the current repo rate on Thursday mainly because of retreating inflation, a smaller trade deficit and stronger rand. "With inflation at 6.3 year on year and falling, the bank will have to aggressively cut its inflation forecast for this year, which is currently at 6.4%," FNB economist Mamello Matikinca said. "Depending on just how much [the committee] revise their inflation number by, the meeting may well be used to signal the end of the hiking cycle and a possibility of a rate cut later this year." Producer price inflation (PPI), which Statistics SA will publish on Thursday, will also have a bearing. The February figures are expected to reveal a meaningful moderation. In January PPI slowed to 5.9% as agriculture and food producer inflation was less aggressive.

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