Reflections on the South African rand crisis of 1996 and policy consequences
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.
|Date of creation:||01 May 1999|
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