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The monetary policy of the South African Reserve Bank: stance, communication and credibility

Alberto Coco, Nicola Viegi
Publication date
July 2019

This paper analyses the evolution of the monetary policy stance, communication and credibility of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) since 2000, when it adopted a flexible Inflation Targeting (IT) regime to facilitate the achievement of its price stability mandate. Empirical results indicate that the stance became accommodative after the global financial crisis of 2009, with a tendency of the implicit inflation target to increase, while after 2014 it turned tighter and the implicit target started declining. In addition, after the crisis the monetary policy has become less active, with a lower response of policy rates to output and inflation gaps, partially explained with the extension of the mandate to include financial stability. At the same time, applying Natural Language Processing techniques to the SARB monetary policy statements shows a move towards a more ‘forward-looking’ and balanced communication strategy, complementing to some extent the less frequent changes of monetary policy rates. Finally, the behavior of market interest rates and inflation expectations shows that monetary policy has been gradually better at anchoring expectations, especially in the last few years. The analysis helps to understand the interaction between policy, communication and credibility by showing a consistent picture across all different aspects of monetary policy making.

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