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Cash-strapped South Africans brace for interest rate announcement

South Africans have been hit hard by increased fuel prices and a rising cost of living, but economists agree there are a few signs that the worst may be over.

FILE: South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – All eyes will be on the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) on Thursday afternoon with the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) set to announce its latest interest rate decision.

South Africans have been hit hard by increased fuel prices and a rising cost of living, but economists agree there are a few signs that the worst may be over.

Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago warned following the monetary policy committee's last meeting of the possibility of rising inflation due to increased fuel prices.

However, the Automobile Association has predicted that the country will see substantial price decreases next month, providing relief to consumers and helping to bring down the cost of living.

Added to this, inflation for October rose only slightly to 5.1%, just below market expectations.

This was from 4.9% the month before and is still within the reserve bank's target of 3 to 6%.

Standard Bank economist Goolam Balim says inflation has been stable.

“We think over this forthcoming month is likely to remain below the 6% target.”

With the festive season fast approaching, cash-strapped South Africans will be hoping that there won't be more added financial pressure.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)