The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The study looks at the cyclical behavior of the markups and assesses its impact on inflation dynamics. The analysis finds that the aggregate level of the private sector's markup is relatively high, thus pointing to the lack of strong competition in South Africa's product markets. Additionally, the results suggest that the markups tend to move in a countercyclical manner, with a short-term positive impact on inflation. This implies that the countercyclical pattern of the markups is one factor among others that contribute to the relatively weak output gap-inflation co-movement. In the context of South Africa's inflation targeting framework, the counter-cyclical markups may also generate an asymmetric response of monetary policy to the fluctuations in economic activity.