South Africa’s central bank sees no need for an emergency meeting on interest rates and will wait for its regular gathering on March 19 to announce a policy decision, Governor Lesetja Kganyago said.
Calls for the central bank to cut rates have increased this week after data on March 3 showing the economy slumped into a recession in the fourth quarter. The U.S. Federal Reserve announced an emergency rate cut the same day to counter the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on output.
“One policy tool that we don’t have is panic,” Kganyago said Wednesday in the central city of Bloemfontein. “We have a Monetary Policy Committee meeting scheduled for later this month and we will then assess all the information and make a decision based on that data.”
After the Reserve Bank reduced its key rate to a four-year low in January, its projection model suggested only one more 25-basis-point cut late this year. Kganyago said the MPC will consider the country’s economic data and give its view on the recession in two weeks.
“There was no need for us to call an emergency meeting,” he said. “You can’t call an emergency meeting and do nothing; you call an emergency meeting and you change rates.”