ISAAH MHLANGA: Push for an interest rate cut is misplaced
SA can’t follow example of rich countries as a cut would mean higher inflation, which would hit the poorest hardest
The Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC) kept the policy repurchase rate unchanged at 6.75% at the conclusion of its meeting on Thursday. Its inflation forecast has slightly improved to 4.5%, 5.1% and 4.6% in 2019, 2020 and 2021 from previous forecasts of 4.8%, 5.3% and 4.7%, respectively. Core inflation has also improved to 4.5% and 4.8% in 2019 and 2020 from 4.8% and 4.9% at the last MPC meeting; the forecast for 2021 remained unchanged at 4.5%. The balance of risks is assessed to be balanced.In addition to a slightly improved inflation outlook, the Bank has revised economic growth to 1% in 2019 from 1.3% previously due to the expected contraction in real economic growth in the first quarter, driven in part by Eskom’s loadshedding. Risks to the growth outlook remain on the downside.Given this prognosis, leftist monetary policy pundits are of the view that the Bank missed an opportunity to cut rates to stimulate economic growth and job creation. They may be partially...
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