Reserve Bank posts R1.4bn profit

Johannesburg - The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has reported an after-tax profit of R1.4bn for the financial year ended March 31 2017.

This is down from a profit of R1.6bn reported in the previous year. The SARB's financial results were impacted by the low interest environment, according to its annual report released on Monday. 

Interest income, derived mainly from foreign investments and accommodation to banks, increased by R0.4bn, compared to R1.3bn in 2016.

Operating costs rose by R0.2bn. This was linked to higher staff costs and operating expenses, offset by a reduction in the cost of new currency, the report said.

SA Mint makes a profit

The SA Mint, a subsidiary to the Reserve Bank, made a profit of R0.3bn, up from R0.2bn reported in 2016. SA Mint declared a dividend of R0.2bn. The South African Bank Note Company made a profit of R0.1bn, compared to a loss of R0.2bn in 2016. The loss was due to an impairment charge on manufacturing and intangible assets.

The Corporation for Public Deposits recorded a profit of R73.5m, up from R72.8m reported in 2016.

Total assets decreased by R68.6bn, compared to an increase of R150.4bn in 2016. This is due to a decline in gold and foreign exchange reserves of R70.6bn, according to the report.

Total liabilities decreased by R69.7bn, compared to an increase of R148.7bn in 2017. This is as a result of the Gold and Foreign Exchange Contingency Reserve Account decreasing by R735bn, the report said.

“The decrease in both total assets and total liabilities was mainly as a result of a stronger rand and a lower gold price,” the report said.

The contingency reserve increased by R0.8bn, compared to R1.5bn in 2016.

A total dividend of R0.2m was paid for the year. An interim dividend of five cents per share was paid out in October 2016, and the final dividend, also 5c, was paid out on May 13 2017. 

READ: Over 149 000 Reserve Bank shares available for purchase

Earlier this year, the Reserve Bank made 149 200 shares available for purchase. Each shareholder is limited to owning 10 000 shares. The 10c dividend is stipulated by law, Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago explained. He also said that the bank does not have a profit-maximising objective.

Shareholders do not have powers to influence policies of the Reserve Bank. They can elect a maximum of seven non-executive directors of the board.

READ: SARB seeks urgent court review to set aside Public Protector’s ‘unlawful’ action

Recommendations in Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report on the Bankorp bailout, which took place during the apartheid era, seek to change the constitutional mandate of the Reserve Bank. Mkhwebane wants the Reserve Bank to support economic growth, whereas its mandate is to protect the rand.

The Reserve Bank sought advice from its legal team, which indicated Mkhwebane’s remedial action falls outside her powers and is unlawful.

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