South African new vehicle sales expanded 1.6 percent in February from a year earlier, the slowest pace since September.
Purchases rose to 53,220 last month from 52,388 a year earlier, the Pretoria-based National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa said in an e-mailed statement today.
Quickening inflation and a weaker rand “could result in further moderation in the rate of growth in sales over the balance of the year,” Naamsa said.
The Reserve Bank kept the benchmark repurchase rate at the lowest level in more than 30 years in January as inflation near the top end of its target limited the room it had to stimulate an economy that grew 2.5 percent last year, the slowest pace since a 2009 recession.
The inflation rate will breach the top of the bank’s target of 3 percent to 6 percent later this year, according to Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus. The rand has dropped 6.7 percent against the dollar in 2013, the worst performer among 25 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg.
Passenger-car sales increased 0.8 percent to 36,666 in February, while vehicle exports rose 22 percent to 27,611.
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