Rate hikes on the up and up

Isaac Moledi

Isaac Moledi

Consumers should brace themselves for the eventuality of persistent interest rate hikes in the coming months, warns international market leader Citigroup.

In its market forecast last week Citigroup said the market performance in the past weeks had not only attached higher probability to rate hikes but also for rates to persist longer than expected.

This will make it difficult for consumers who are already in debt to extricate themselves.

The group forecasts difficult times for consumers saying that reversing this rise in interest-rate expectations would require evidence of falling price pressures or a strong slowdown, which are both unlikely.

It said potential signs of moderating consumer demand in the coming week will probably not be enough to assuage reserve bank and market fears.

Experts believe the economic data that will be released over the coming week is likely to bolster the case for some moderation in consumer demand in coming months.

But with reduced vehicle sales and lower household confidence,the data is unlikely to provide sufficient grounds to change the current bias of the reserve bank and, in turn, the markets.