No repo rate Christmas bonus from Reserve Bank

Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus said the Consumer Price Index in October rose to 5.6% year on year. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus said the Consumer Price Index in October rose to 5.6% year on year. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

The bank decided to hold the repo rate at 5% for the second consecutive meeting.

Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus said the Consumer Price Index in October rose to 5.6% year on year, up from 5.5% in September, and it was edging closer to the upper end of the target range of between 3% and 6%.

Domestic factors had been the dominant determinants of the weaker exchange rate, Marcus said, and the rand had weakened by 6.7% against the US dollar since the last meeting of the monetary policy committee.

Labour unrest, a widening trade deficit and a ratings downgrade by two agencies had taken a toll on the currency.

Marcus said: "We [the bank] are concerned about recent trends in wage settlements and their potential negative effect on the economy."

She said above-inflation wage increases presented the danger of a wage price spiral and, inevitably, "it's the workers who will bear the brunt of the fallout".

Marcus said another major concern was rising food prices, which posed a significant risk to the global inflation outlook, although data suggests that maize prices may be moderating.

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Lisa Steyn

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