HILARY JOFFE: IMF move yields the conditioned response - but it may wear off

02 August 2020 - 00:03 By HILARY JOFFE

When the government had a highly successful $5bn (R82bn) international bond issue in September last year, taking advantage of favourable market conditions to borrow even more dollars than initially planned, nobody said a word on Twitter. When it borrowed $4.2bn from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week, the twitterati went wild. The responses came in at least three varieties.

First was the "don't give the money to the government/political elite, they will just loot it" variety. Second were many tweets along the "we've sold our country to Washington" line. And then there was simply some woeful ignorance: why couldn't we just borrow at home instead of going to the IMF, asked one post (we did - R3.4-trillion of government loans on the domestic market and counting)...

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