Bank of Botswana cuts the bank rate to 5 percent

26th October 2017
BANK RATE DOWN: Bank of Botswana Governor Moses Pelaelo reduces bank rate. Source:The Midweek Sun


By Sun Reporter - Reporter

Bank of Botswana’s Monetary Policy Committee has on Tuesday this week reduced the bank rate from 5.5 percent to 5 percent. In a statement from the Committee late yesterday (Tuesday) reads, “the current state of the economy, both the domestic and external economic outlook as well as the inflation forecast, provides scope for easing monetary policy to support economic activity without undermining maintenance of inflation within the Bank’s medium-term objective range of 3 – 6 percent.”

The Committee therefore, urged all commercial banks to make the necessary interest rate adjustments with immediate effect to reflect this policy decision. It further indicates that, the outlook for price stability remains positive as inflation is forecast to be within the 3 – 6 percent objective range in the medium term. Meanwhile, inflation decreased from 3.4 percent in August to 3.2 percent in September 2017. Subdued domestic demand pressures and the modest increase in foreign prices contribute to the positive inflation outlook in the medium term.

This outlook is subject to downside risks emanating from sluggish global economic activity and the resultant low commodity prices. Conversely, any substantial unanticipated upward adjustment in administered prices and government levies and/or taxes and any increase in international commodity prices beyond current forecasts present upside risks to the inflation outlook. GDP in Botswana grew by 3.1 percent in the twelve months to June 2017 compared to a contraction of 0.7 percent in the corresponding period ending in June 2016.

The improvement in growth reflects a 4.9 percent increase in non-mining activity, from 3.3 percent in the same period. However, output in the mining sector contracted by 10.1 percent in the twelve months to June 2017 compared to a relatively large contraction of 22.9 percent in the corresponding period in the previous year. It is projected that domestic non-mining output will be below trend in the short-to-medium term, constrained by continued modest growth in household incomes and restrained economic expansion in major trading partners.

“Nevertheless, gradual economic recovery is expected in the medium term in response to anticipated improvement in external economic conditions,” reads the statement by the Committee. Global output is projected to grow by 3.6 percent in 2017, compared to an estimated 3.2 percent in 2016, and 3.7 percent in 2018, reflecting expected improvement in performance in both advanced and emerging market economies. However, uncertainty surrounding global trade policy and openness as well as moderation of growth in China could adversely affect the medium-term growth prospects. Regionally, the projected weak economic growth in South Africa in 2017 due to persistent subdued demand and low investor confidence could potentially undermine growth by constraining private investment and household consumption.

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