The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread globally, with wide-ranging and deep social and economic effects. South Africa has a strong and resilient banking system with adequate levels of capital and significant liquidity buffers to manage this stress.
The SARB, working within its mandate and using the monetary policy and regulatory tools at its disposal, is committed to limiting the impact of the crisis on South Africa’s economy. To date, we have taken the following steps:
We have significantly reduced the repo rate.
The repo rate now stands at 3.75% per annum. It has decreased from 6.5% on 1 January 2020 to 3.75% on 22 May 2020. The reduced repo rate will make it easier for borrowers to meet their financial obligations.
We have made additional liquidity available to the banking sector.
We have done so by increasing the size and duration of repo facilities and by purchasing government bonds. This will help ensure the continued smooth functioning of our financial markets.
We have partnered with banks and National Treasury to implement a loan guarantee scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Businesses with an annual turnover of less than R300 million are eligible to apply for a guaranteed loan. Funds borrowed through this scheme can be used for operational expenses such as salaries, rent and lease agreements, and contracts with suppliers.
The Prudential Authority is supporting banks in responding to the needs of their customers.
This support takes the form of regulatory relief measures and guidance to banks in managing the crisis. The relief measures include capital relief on restructured loans that were in good standing before the COVID-19 crisis, a lower liquidity coverage ratio and lower capital requirements.
The SARB will continue to monitor global economic and financial conditions, and work closely with government and regulatory authorities to limit the effects of this pandemic on households and businesses.
The SARB is complying with all COVID-19 directives regarding hygiene. We have therefore temporarily halted the purchase of gold coins. Click here for further information.