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Africa Economy in Feburary 2015

Source: OPEC 3/7/2015, Location: Africa

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In South Africa, the central bank left its key repo rate on hold at 5.75% in January as inflationary pressures eased. The bank said that the bar for rate cuts remained high, and would require a sustained decline in both the inflation rate and inflation expectations. It lowered the growth forecast for 2015 from 2.5% to 2.2%. Following five months of continued improvement, the manufacturing sector showed a broad-based weakening in January. The manufacturing PMI fell to 49.8 last month from 50.2 in December. Output, new orders and inventories experienced marginal contractions in January.

In Egypt, the Central Bank cut its benchmark overnight deposit rate last month by 50 bp to 8.75% amid inflationary and growth risks. The key interest rate was last changed in July 2014 when the central bank raised it by 100 bp to curb inflationary pressures resulting from a cut in fuel and electricity subsidies. The bank expects investments in domestic mega-projects – such as the Suez Canal – are expected to contribute to economic growth. Last month, the non-oil producing private sector experienced its first contraction since July 2014. HSBC Egypt PMI dropped to 49.3 in January from 51.4 in December on declines in production and new business.

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