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South African November Credit Growth Accelerates to 9.6%

Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) -- South African credit demand strengthened in November as the central bank kept interest rates at the lowest in more than 30 years to spur spending.

Borrowing by households and companies rose 9.6 percent compared with 8.4 percent in October, the Pretoria-based Reserve Bank said on its website today. The median estimate of eight economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for growth of 8.4 percent.

The Reserve Bank last month left its benchmark lending rate at 5 percent to help support growth in Africa’s largest economy. Consumer spending, which makes up about 60 percent of demand, has come under strain this year as the jobless rate rose to 25.5 percent and the economy expanded at its slowest pace since a 2009 recession in the third quarter.

Growth may still be “very low” in the final three months of the year, central bank Governor Gill Marcus said on Nov. 28. The bank is forecasting 2.5 percent expansion this year, down from 3.5 percent in 2011.

The broad M3 measure of money supply rose 6.3 percent in November from a year earlier compared with 5.7 percent in October, the central bank said. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey was 5.1 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Franz Wild in Johannesburg at fwild@bloomberg.net

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

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