Country Analysts

Iraj Abedian
Former Member, President’s Panel of Economic Advisors

In The News


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Recent Country Insights

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South Africa's local government elections augur tectonic democratic political changes
SOUTH AFRICA - In Brief 24 Nov 2021
Over the past 48 hours, South Africa's local government councils have scrambled to meet the constitutional deadline for the establishment of their municipal governing structures. As reported before, the dominant African National Congress (ANC) experienced a much harsher than expected voter backla...

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The South African Reserve Bank starts policy normalization
SOUTH AFRICA - Report 18 Nov 2021
As we had anticipated, the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to increase the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points from 3.5% to 3.75% during its final scheduled meeting of the year. As a result, the prime lending rate also increased from 7% to 7.25%. P...

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South Africa’s Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement presents a slightly better fiscus, but it may be only a temporarily relief
SOUTH AFRICA - Report 12 Nov 2021
Having been contending with the Covid-19 pandemic for over a year and a half, the South African government, like most governments globally, has been juggling countless needs pressing on its coffers, while at the same time attempting to contain public debt to eventually bring it down to prudent le...

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South Africa's 2021 local elections: worryingly low voter turnout and the sharp rise of coalitions
SOUTH AFRICA - Report 05 Nov 2021
South Africa held its latest local (municipal) elections on November 1, elections that have been declared “free and fair” by the Electoral Commission of South Africa, but turned out to have had one of the lowest voter participation rates of the country’s young democracy. Only 12.3 million South A...

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South Africa’s recovery is driven by the commodity price boom– but tapering off
SOUTH AFRICA - Forecast 01 Nov 2021
Households: South African households took a big hit from the Covid-19 pandemic, and domestic demand has expectedly been adversely affected.Even though household consumption expenditure has undergone a relatively fast recovery, downside risks remain. Unemployment: Unemployment once again reache...

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The South African Reserve Bank keeps rates unchanged despite the stronger economy
SOUTH AFRICA - Report 24 Sep 2021
Continuing with its trend of not altering interest rates since it cut them by 25 basis points at its July 2020 meeting, the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) once again voted to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3.5%. With the repo rate at 3.5%, the ...

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Exports boost South Africa’s 2Q2021 current account balance
SOUTH AFRICA - Report 10 Sep 2021
Commodity prices have been reaching record highs in 2021, as global economic activity slowly rebounds. For resource-rich countries such as South Africa, this news is well received. As expected, the current account surplus widened in the second quarter of 2021 – to R343 billion in 2Q2021 from R261...

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SA GDP surprises on the upside in the third quarter, but the outlook warrants cautious optimism
SOUTH AFRICA - Report 08 Sep 2021
Statistics South Africa’s (StatsSA) recently rebased South Africa gross domestic product (GDP) has resulted in upward revisions of the country’s 2020 GDP (at current prices) by 11%, to R5.52 trillion (previously R4.97 trillion). This leaves the annual growth rate for 2020 at -6.4% from -7%. The ...

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South Africa’s economy amid unrest, Cabinet changes and a mining sector boom
SOUTH AFRICA - Forecast 09 Aug 2021
South Africa’s growth: South Africa’s economy, which is once again being adversely impacted by another round of more stringent lockdowns on account of the third wave of Covid-19 infections, encountered another setback in July. This was in the form of the civil unrest that took place at the beginn...

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