'SA escaped worst of global financial crisis'

SOUTH Africa's financial system has been fairly resilient to the global financial crisis, with no institution requiring assistance or a bail-out, the Reserve Bank said yesterday.

SOUTH Africa's financial system has been fairly resilient to the global financial crisis, with no institution requiring assistance or a bail-out, the Reserve Bank said yesterday.

But in its Financial Stability Review for March , the bank said the global financial crisis had shown that micro-prudential supervision on its own may not be sufficient to ensure systematic financial stability.

"The South African Reserve Bank is, therefore, developing an integrated framework for a macro-prudential approach to achieve its financial stability objective," it said.

"The aim would be to smooth out the impact of the economic cycle on the financial system - and contain the build-up of systematic risks in the system."

Officials of the Reserve Bank said it would take some time to finalise the new framework.

South Africa has said its financial institutions did not escape unscathed from the global crisis but managed to avoid the worst because of prudent supervision.

Yesterday, the Reserve Bank said relatively conservative monetary and fiscal policies and structural reforms - before the global crisis - helped many African countries withstand the effects of the meltdown.

But the main risk facing South Africa and the rest of the continent - excluding political risks - remained a stalling of the global economic recovery, which could again place downward pressure on commodity prices.

The bank reiterated Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's stance earlier this year, reaffirming its role in overseeing financial stability.

South Africa's banking sectorcontinued to maintain adequate levels of capital in the six months to December 2009, improving the capital adequacy ratio to 14,1percent, well above the minimum prudential requirement. - Sapa

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