2013-01-01 02:21:54 - South Africa Business Forecast Report Q4 2012 - a new country guide report on companiesandmarkets.com
BMI sees the South African economy continuing its uneven recovery over the medium term, with real GDP growth forecast to slow to 2.7% in 2012 from an estimated 3.1% in 2011. Although the consumer sector is experiencing a fairly robust resurgence, the supply side is lagging behind, and there are widespread concerns that the recovery is not sufficiently broad-based.
We forecast that South Africa´s repo rate will be kept steady at 5.50% over the medium term. That said, there is a significant risk that rates will be cut. Growth is slowing, inflation is under control and commentary from the central bank is increasingly dovish. On balance, however, we expect the South African Reserve Bank to ´hold fire´ in order to save
its ammunition in case the eurozone crisis accelerates. Policy uncertainty is relatively high owing to questions over whether President Jacob Zuma will secure another term in office.
Major Forecast Changes
Following a sharp decline in the price of oil over May and June, we now expect that interest rates will be kept on hold through to the end of 2012. Previously, we expected a 50-basis-point rate hike in the final quarter of the year.
Key Risks To Outlook
A sustained bout of global risk aversion with an attendant sharp outflow of portfolio funds would threaten South Africa´s precarious balance of payments. There is the possibility of a sudden uptick in domestic political risk, perhaps surrounding the African National Congress elections in December. A sustained period of high oil prices would exacerbate the alreadysizeable current account deficit.
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