Cape Town - In the second interest rate hike for the year, the South African Reserve Bank’s (Sarb's) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) hiked the repo rate to 6.25%, governor Lesetja Kganyago announced on Thursday.
It was the last MPC meeting for the year, with the announcement following a 25 basis-point increase in July.
This brings the prime lending rate to 9.75%.
The next MPC meeting is in January, shortly after the US Federal Reserve's decision in December.
Absa senior economist Jacques du Toit said the announcement came against the background of expected inflationary pressures due to the lagged effect of the severe drought on food prices, a weakening rand exchange rate and the prospect of rising interest rates in the United States before year-end and during next year.
Further hikes in lending rates are forecast for 2016, causing debt repayments to increase and contributing to additional financial strain on consumers. Banks will continue to monitor economic and consumer-related trends, possibly impacting their risk appetite and lending criteria.
The rand, which was trading at R14.15/dollar shortly before the announcement, quickly weakened to R14.20, but by 15:29 was trading back at R14.15.