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Interest rates on hold

The announcement was made at the Sarb headquarters in Pretoria on Thursday afternoon.

SA Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Interest rates will remain unchanged, South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) Governor Gill Marcus announced on Thursday.

This means the repo rate will stay fixed at 5,5 percent, while the prime lending rate will remain at nine percent.

"At this meeting, the Monitory Policy Committee (MPC) will keep the repo rate unchanged at 5,5 percent per annum," the governor revealed.

Marcus strongly hinted rates will go up in the near future, saying a monetary policy tightening cycle has clearly started.

"The pace of tightening depends on a number of factors, including projected inflation, inflation expectations, the state of the economy as well as global developments.

She warned Sarb will act if it needs to.

"We wish to reiterate however that even though we are in a tightening cycle, there will not necessarily be a change in the stance at every meeting and that the increments may not always be of the same magnitude."

The Sarb governor says inflation is expected to breach the bank's ceiling of six percent, before coming down again.

During the previous MPC gathering in January, rates were hiked by 50-basis points.

Economists widely expected rates to stay on hold.