Credit growth, asset prices and financial stability in South Africa : a policy perspective
The worldwide economic downturn and recession in the second half of 2008 were mainly the result of the crises that influenced the world‟s financial markets. After the financial crisis, the extended period of rapid credit growth that was driven by asset price increases, especially property prices, came to an end. This identified two problems central to the theme of this study. The first problem was illustrated through the recent crisis, which showed that problems in the financial sector have a potentially destabilising effect on the economy, to such an extent that they also affect the real economy. The second problem highlighted by the recent financial crisis pertains to the current macroeconomic framework, which indicates policy failure to detect and deal with financial sector instabilities. The objective of this study was to develop a framework in which the influence that rapidly growing credit and asset prices have on financial stability could be determined. Two distinct empirical models were estimated in order to reach the main objective of this study. The first model established the influence that asset prices and credit growth have on the real economy. It concluded that a long-run relationship exists between inflation, real GDP, credit extended to the private sector, house prices and share prices. A bi-directional relationship was found between house and share price, which indicates the interdependence of asset prices in SA. The transmission channels assume that credit is influenced by interest rates, but the results also found that interest rates are largely influenced by credit. The second model determined the influence of asset prices and credit on financial stability. A significant long-run relationship was found between financial stability, share and house prices, and between share prices, credit and financial stability. It was found that credit and share prices can be used to signal financial instability, and share prices can help to determine future credit extended to the private sector. In addition, the empirical analysis indicated that a credit market squeeze will be experienced after a decrease in financial stability. Lastly, credit extended will increase as a result of shock to house and share prices and financial stability will decrease when there is a shock to share and house prices.