SA portfolio inflows jump on record Eurobond sale

South African portfolio investment inflows rose to the highest level in more than a year in the third quarter after the country’s biggest Eurobond sale yet.

Investment inflows increased to R40.2bn, the South African Reserve Bank said in its quarterly bulletin released Friday in the capital, Pretoria. That’s highest since the first quarter of 2018, when sentiment surged after Cyril Ramaphosa won the leadership of the ANC and took over as president of the country.

Key Insights

  • South Africa is heavily reliant on foreign investment inflows to help fund the deficits on its current account and budget. The current-account gap hasn’t dipped below 2% of GDP since the end of 2016 and, together with a budget shortfall that’s projected to be the widest in more than a decade next year, it keeps pressure on the rand.
  • Foreign direct investment of R17bn came into the country in the third quarter, compared with R26.3bn in the three months to June.
  • The economy entered the 73rd month of a weakening cycle in December, extending its longest downward phase since 1945.
  • Household debt declined to 72.6% of GDP in the third quarter, compared with 72.7% in the previous three months.
  • Nominal unit labor costs rose 5.7% in second quarter, compared with a revised 3.8% in the the first quarter.
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