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Reflections on the South African rand crisis of 1996 and policy 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 University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/1999-13.

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Date of creation: 01 May 1999
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/1999-13

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  1. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo & Leiderman, Leonardo, 1993. "“Capital Inflows and Real Exchange Rate Appreciation in Latin America: The Role of External Factors," MPRA Paper 7125, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. 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.
  3. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Aaron Tornell & Andrés Velasco, 1996. "Financial Crises in Emerging Markets: The Lessons from 1995," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 147-216.
  4. Maurice Obstfeld, 1995. "Models of Currency Crises with Self-Fulfilling Features," NBER Working Papers 5285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Agenor, Pierre-Richard & Masson, Paul R, 1999. "Credibility, Reputation, and the Mexican Peso Crisis," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(1), pages 70-84, February.
  9. Bela Balassa, 1964. "The Purchasing-Power Parity Doctrine: A Reappraisal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 584.
  10. 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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