Economists say Bank’s rates decision is too close to call
The Reserve Bank’s decision on whether to raise interest rates for the first time in more than two years will likely be a close one, with economists almost split down the middle. It is the first monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting since the retirement of Brian Kahn, presumed to have been a dove, which means that if the remaining six members are split, governor Lesetja Kganyago will have the deciding vote. While the Bank has succeeded in keeping inflation within its 3%-6% target range since April 2017, Kganyago has repeatedly said that he would want to see it closer to the middle of that range. Inflation accelerated to 5.1% in October, driven mostly by record fuel prices, data from Stats SA showed on Wednesday. Of the 21 economists in a Bloomberg survey, 11 said that they expect a 25-basis point increase in the repurchase rate to 6.75%, while the rest expect it to remain unchanged. A hike on Thursday would be the first since March 2016.
The MPC changed the rate only once in...