In this edition of the Business Day Spotlight, we talk about the risk of inflation before the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy decision.

Our host, Mudiwa Gavaza, is joined by Annabel Bishop, chief economist at Investec to discuss the issues.

This week, US Federal Reserve officials strengthened their assessment of the economy and signalled that risks have diminished while leaving their key interest rate near zero. The federal open market committee (FOMC), which meets periodically to discuss and decide US monetary policy, looks set to hold interest rates at current levels, at least in the short term.

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As a number of countries worldwide follow or at least consider the actions of the FOMC, Bishop says the Bank’s own monetary policy committee, set to meet in May, is likely to take similar action.

Bishop says this is good as low interest rates help to encourage growth, especially while economies worldwide have suffered due to the fallout of Covid-19.

The discussion focuses on the recent interest rate decision by the US Federal Reserve; the effect of such a policy stance on other central banks; options that the Bank has when making its own decision; the rand as a commodity and emerging market currency; the importance of credit ratings in a post-pandemic world; sentiment in SA’s household sector; and an outlook for SA’s economy for the rest of the year.

Bishop says the country is still on track to growth at 3%-3.5% from their estimation, warning about the potential risk of factors such as load-shedding on output and labour action or strikes on investor sentiment.

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 Business Day Spotlight is a MultimediaLIVE production.

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