SARB leaves interest rate unchanged, downgrades GDP growth projection

The SA Reserve Bank's monetary policy committee has again left the repo rate unchanged at 6.5%. The prime rate will remain 10.25%.

The announcement was made by the central bank's governor Lesetja Kganyago in Pretoria on Thursday afternoon. Kganyago said three of the MPC's members voted to keep the rate unchanged, while two voted for a decrease of 25 basis points. 

The repo rate is the benchmark interest rate at which the Reserve Bank lends money to other banks. The last time the bank changed the rate was in July, when it was cut 25 basis points to 6.5%. The rate stayed unchanged at 6.5% in September. The decision to keep the rate on hold was anticipated by analysts. 

The Reserve Bank's forecast for GDP growth for 2019, meanwhile, has been lowered from 0.6% to 0.5%. The central bank's forecasts for 2020 and 2021 have been lowered to 1.4% (from 1.5% in September) and 1.7% (from 1.8%).

The governor said that 3rd quarter GDP outcome is expected to be weak, with the country still facing low business confidence. 

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