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Reflections on the South African rand crisis of 1996 and its consequences

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  • Janine Aron
  • Ibrahim Elbadawi

Abstract

After South Africa's democratic elections in 1994, large capital inflows were induced by the cessation of trade and financial sanctions, improved creditworthiness and a liberalised capital account for foreigners. The flows were managed in a classic trade-off between currency stability, and raised interest rates to counter inflation resulting from a credit boom and partially sterilised intervention. In early 1996, the currency suffered a speculative attack. Using a theoretical model of currency crises, we present some empirical results suggesting the importance of economic fundamentals and policy credibility as determinants of investors' devaluation expectations prior to the crisis. Poor growth associated with subsequent protracted currency volatility and high interest rates argues for a range of complementary policies to manage inflows in South Africa. These include reserve requirements on certain inflows, prudent further liberalisation of domestic exchange controls, improved private and government savings policies, a medium-term public debt framework and closer monitoring of risk management by banking and other financial institutions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 1999-13.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:1999-13

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  1. Bela Balassa, 1964. "The Purchasing-Power Parity Doctrine: A Reappraisal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 584.
  2. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1996. "Models of currency crises with self-fulfilling features," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 1037-1047, April.
  3. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela & Lizondo, Saul, 1998. "Leading Indicators of Currency Crises," MPRA Paper 6981, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Leonardo Leiderman & Carmen Reinhart & Guillermo Calvo, 1992. "Capital Inflows and Real Exchange Rate Appreciation in Latin America: The Role of External Factors," IMF Working Papers 92/62, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Adam, Christopher, 1995. "Fiscal adjustment, financial liberalization, and the dynamics of inflation: Some evidence from Zambia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 735-750, May.
  6. Flood, Robert P. & Garber, Peter M., 1984. "Collapsing exchange-rate regimes : Some linear examples," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 1-13, August.
  7. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Balance-of-Payments Crises," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(3), pages 311-25, August.
  8. Masson, Paul R, 1995. "Gaining and Losing ERM Credibility: The Case of the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 571-82, May.
  9. Ozkan, F Gulcin & Sutherland, Alan, 1995. "Policy Measures to Avoid a Currency Crisis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(429), pages 510-19, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Janine Aron & John Muellbauer, 2006. "Review of Monetary Policy in South Africa since 1994," CSAE Working Paper Series 2006-07, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  2. Frankel, Jeffrey, 2007. "On the Rand: Determinants of the South African Exchange Rate," Working Paper Series rwp07-015, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Janine Aron, 2008. "Monetary Policy and Inflation Modeling in a more Open Economy in South Africa," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2008-28, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Aron, Janine & Muellbauer, John, 2006. "Review of Monetary Policy in South Africa: 1994-2004," CEPR Discussion Papers 5831, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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