"Should a further raft of negative data be released in the coming weeks, the chances of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) cutting interest rates from the current 12% at the next quarterly monetary policy meeting on December 11 will be significant. Should the rand claw back some gains between now and then, interest rate easing could come even sooner," say the economists. They note that although South Africa?s central bankers voiced concerns early this week about the impact on inflation of the rand?s dramatic weakening, pressure to cut interest rates is "clearly increasing". "Many monetary authorities around the world have been loosening their monetary policy in a bid to prevent a protracted global economic slowdown. Several of Europe?s key central banks cut interest rates on Thursday, with the Bank of England slashing borrowing costs 150 basis points to 3%. These cuts followed the US Federal Reserve?s decision a week earlier to lower rates to just 1%." South Africa?s Monetary Policy Committee left rates unchanged on October 9 just after developed world central banks joined hands in cutting rates. There was speculation then that South Africa might cut too, but the Bank held its course and noted that the risk profile of inflation had changed thanks to a weak rand, making the picture uncertain. This move was generally well received as apt in SA?s unique circumstances, where high inflation hits the massive ranks of the poor hardest. The rand has come off levels of R11,57/$ on October 22 and headed back to the R9,50 mark, only to weaken again overnight to R10,24/$.