South Africa Producer-Price Inflation Unchanged at 5.2%

South Africa’s producer-price inflation rate was unchanged in November, giving the Reserve Bank room to keep interest rates low to stimulate growth.

The cost of goods leaving factories and mines rose 5.2 percent in November from a year ago, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said on its website today. The median estimate of 12 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was 5.5 percent. Prices increased 0.3 percent in the month.

“The down-side surprise would feed into relief” for consumer prices, Carmen Nel, a Cape Town-based analyst at Rand Merchant Bank, said by phone. “Input cost pressures, significantly from the rand, seem to be largely absent.”

The Reserve Bank has held the benchmark repurchase rate at 5 percent since July. Consumer-price inflation was unchanged at 5.6 percent last month, the statistics agency said yesterday. The bank’s goal is to keep inflation within a range of 3 percent to 6 percent.

While the bank has room to adjust rates if necessary, it wouldn’t be appropriate now, Governor Gill Marcus said on Nov. 28. Policy makers will make their next rate decision on Jan. 24.

Inflation near the top of the central bank’s target has curbed its ability to stimulate the economy, which is set to expand 2.5 percent this year, the slowest pace since a 2009 recession.

The rand was little changed at 8.6512 per dollar at 11:51 a.m. in Johannesburg, taking its decline this year to 6.5 percent. The yield on the rand debt due in 2021 dropped 1 basis point to 6.458 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andres R. Martinez in Johannesburg at amartinez28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net

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