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Financial News: South Africa CB Cuts Interest Rate, Growth Forecast

South Africa CB Cuts Interest Rate, Growth Forecast

07/18/2019 - 10:25:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - South Africa's central bank cut its key interest rate on Thursday and slashed its growth forecast citing downside risks due to rising trade and geopolitical tensions.

The Monetary Policy Committee of the South African Reserve Bank unanimously decided to reduce the repurchase rate by 25 basis points to 6.5 percent. The new rate will take effect on July 19. "In this persistently uncertain environment, future policy decisions will continue to be highly data dependent, sensitive to the assessment of the balance of risks to the outlook, and will seek to look-through temporary price shocks," SARB Governor Lesetja Kganyago said.

The central bank slashed the growth forecast for this year to 0.6 percent from 1 percent seen in May. The predictions for 2020 and 2021 were left unchanged at 1.8 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

Risks to the growth outlook are balanced in the near term, but policymakers are worried about the longer term risks. "Investment prospects will continue to be limited in the absence of structural reforms," Kganyago said. "The escalation of trade tensions could have further negative impacts."

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