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Repo Rate Hike A Wake-up Call For Consumers – George Herald

Repo Rate Hike A Wake-up Call For Consumers – George Herald

In this featured article George Herald writes about the repo rate increase which was announced by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) governor Lesetja Kganyago last week.

Economists really expected the increase. The SARB governor said high levels of wage growth, currency fluctuation and ESKOM increases had an impact on the decision made by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

Comments from local business owners stated they were disappointed because the repo rate hike has a huge impact on consumers, homeowners and homebuyers. The impact from banks will be the implementation of firmer lending regulations as well as increasing repo rates, which might have a damaging effect on people’s bond repayments.

This increase, says Wikus Olivier, Debt Management Expert at DebtSafe, is not the end of the world though. “I agree that less people are going to get credit or loans from financial institutions, but when we look at the history of the repo rate, it is still not as high as it was in 1998 – when it was at its highest ever at 24%.”

Wikus says government uses interest rates to manipulate the economy. Mortgages, credit cards and other consumer loan interest rates are calculated based on the prime rate. “If a person has equity in an Access Bond and a lot of other debt, use the money from the Access Bond to pay all outstanding debts while the interest rates are still relatively low,” he advises.