Janine Aron and John Muellbauer were Research Fellows of the South African Reserve Bank during 2018/19, and their Fellowship was recently renewed for 2019/20. They have been assisting the central bank with its new policy mandate for financial stability. Along with experts from the Bank of England and the ECB, they were asked to evaluate the SARB’s biannual Financial Stability Review in the light of the new Financial Sector Regulation Act governing financial stability in South Africa. They wrote two papers for the SARB on “Macroprudential governance and communication for financial stability in South Africa” and “Financial stability and the housing market in South Africa”. Placing South Africa in the spectrum of international institutional variation, they find a potentially strong role for real estate in the financial accelerator in SA. They also argue that the risks posed by climate change are particularly salient, given South Africa’s extreme coal dependence. They were invited to present these papers at the SARB’s Biennial conference: “Managing external vulnerabilities: implications for emerging market economies” during late October.
Other speakers well-known to the INET group included Tobias Adrian from the IMF and Co-Pierre Georg of the University of Cape Town. Forthcoming work includes an assessment of the Core Macro-model of the SARB to improve the monitoring of financial stability and monetary policy transmission. They will also be examining the role of shifting credit conditions and other factors in driving house prices in South Africa and examine the evidence on what determines fluctuations in non-performing loans for the banking sector.