Johannesburg - The South African Reserve Bank's monetary policy committee cut the key repo rate by half a percentage point on Thursday.

The new repo rate is 6%, with the prime lending rate to change to 9.5%

The repo rate is the rate at which the central bank lends to other banks, while the prime lending rate is the benchmark rate at which banks lend to customers.

The decision to leave rates unchanged had been expected.

Most economists have argued for a rate cut to boost the economy in the wake of a favourable inflation outlook, as well as slower gross domestic product growth figures and factory data.

The July rate of change in the consumer price index (CPI) came in at 3.7% from 4.2% in June. On Wednesday, Statistics SA reported annual manufacturing production growth of 7.5%, well down on June's growth rate of 9.3%.