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There has traditionally been a belief that the monetary powers that be would never be so unkind as to place a dampener on festivities over Christmas by raising rates - bah, humbug to that, says global investment house Lehman Brothers after reviewing the latest comments by Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni.
"Mboweni sounded typically hawkish [aggressive] in comments made Tuesday evening," said Lehman's emerging markets analyst Silja Sepping.
Mboweni commented that if, in the view of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), the inflation target was being threatened by inflationary pressures, the MPC would do the correct thing, even as South Africa entered the festive period.
Consumer inflation has remained within the 3 to 6percent target range for three years, but is forecast to possibly break 6 percent early next year.
The benign inflationary environment over the past few years, and the subsequent easing of monetary policy, spurred a spending boom that has pushed credit and household debt levels to record highs.
"Unfortunately this [low inflation] has led us to provide a much more accommodative monetary policy stance, which has had some unintended consequences," Mboweni said.
He warned that the bank was resolute about implementing its mandate of keeping inflation within the target range and was keeping a close eye on inflation developments.
Analysts said the tone of Mboweni's comments cemented the case for another interest rate hike.
"It is tough to believe that, given the reserve bank's tone, it will not move between October and February. So be prepared for 50 basis points in December," said Sepping. That would bring the key repo rate to 9percent. - I-Net Bridge and Reuters