Economists divided on interest rates increase

Lihle Z Mtshali

Lihle Z Mtshali

The most important event for the markets this week is undoubtedly the two-day meeting of the SA Reserve Bank's Monetary Policy Committee, the second onethis year.

The committee, headed by Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni, meets on Wednesday and Thursday when it will announce whether it is raising interest rates or not.

The committee paused in hiking rates at its last meeting in January.

There is no clear indication on how the committee will vote to move this time around.

Of the nine leading local economists surveyed by I-Net Bridge, four expected an increase of 50 basis points.

Five of the economists surveyed do not expect further hikes after the decision in January to leave the rate unchanged.

The three who are expecting a 50 basis point hike also feel it will be the end of the cycle after this hike.

Only one economist is expecting a 50 basis point increase on Thursday and further increases in either June or August.

A pause on Thursday will keep the prime overdraft rate - the key rate for homeowners with mortgage loans - at 14,5percent.