July 10, 2019 / 3:50 PM / 9 days ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa's Kganyago reappointed as central bank governor

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JOHANNESBURG, July 10 (Reuters) - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Lesetja Kganyago for another five-year term as central bank governor, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

Kganyago has in recent months defended the central bank’s independence after calls by some officials in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to nationalise the bank and extend its mandate beyond inflation-targeting to include boosting economic growth and unemployment.

Kganyago’s second term as governor of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) will start in November.

Razia Khan, chief economist for Africa and the Middle East at Standard Chartered, said Kganyago was the most highly regarded central bank governor in the region.

“His commitment to inflation-targeting and central bank independence has been unwavering,” Khan said.

“Inflation expectations have declined significantly during his time at the helm of the SARB. In our view it is this well-established credibility that will allow the SARB the space to react as it should to changing conditions,” Khan added.

Kganyago was appointed SARB governor in 2014, succeeding Gill Marcus.

Ramaphosa also appointed Fundi Tshazibana and Rashad Cassim as deputy central bank governors for five years each, effective August 1.

Tshazibana is currently an adviser to the governor, while Cassim is the central bank’s head of economic research and statistics. Both are members of the interest-rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

The deputy governor positions became vacant after the resignation of Francois Groepe in January and the retirement of Daniel Mminele at the end of June.

The central bank said in a statement it welcomed the appointments.

The MPC will meet next week to decide on interest rates. (Reporting by Alexander Winning and Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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