Charts that show SA Reserve Bank ‘u-turn’ due to virus

JOHANNESBURG – The economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic has turned South Africa’s typically hawkish monetary policy committee into doves.
The five-member panel, headed by Governor Lesetja Kganyago, has cut the nation’s benchmark interest rate by more than third this year and is expected to ease policy further on Thursday in a bid to support an economy that could contract by as much 16.1% due to the virus and restrictions to curb its spread.
Another reduction in the rate would be “quite a u-turn” in the stance of a committee that often cited concerns about a weak currency and its possible secondary impact on inflation as barriers to easing, said Elize Kruger, an independent economist. The rand has lost almost a quarter of its value against the dollar this year.