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‘Likelihood’ of rate hikes – Naidoo

Central bank says to conduct review on FX trading.

There’s a high likelihood that South Africa’s central bank will increase interest rates at its next few meetings, one of its deputy governors said on Tuesday.

The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) left interest rates unchanged as expected last Thursday but signalled that rising oil prices, above inflation wage settlements and a weaker rand currency could stoke inflation and bring a rate rise in coming months.

“(There’s a) high likelihood of us hiking interest rates in the next few meetings,” Deputy Governor Kuben Naidoo told reporters on Tuesday, after the Sarb released its annual bank supervision report.

The Sarb has kept its benchmark repo rate steady at 5.75% since July last year as Africa’s most advanced economy struggles with power shortages, with state utility Eskom unable to cope with demand.

Naidoo said the central bank was conducting a review on foreign exchange trading, days after the competition watchdog accused several banks of price-rigging in currency markets, but had so far “not found anything untoward”.

South Africa is investigating several global banks for allegedly fixing foreign exchange trades.

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