Fixed Rate RSA Retail Savings Bonds

Last updated 1 September 2020
Current Rates

Fixed Rate RSA Retail Savings Bond TermRate % Sep-20Month Change %
2 years5.00 -0.25
3 years6.00 0.00
5 years8.00 0.00

August held yet further volatile reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Rand ended the month marginally firmer, with USDZAR closing at 16.95, although having periods of weakness during the month .  Government Bond yields dropped by between 0.1% in the short end and 0.05% for longer dated bonds meaning the curve steepened somewhat further.

Given these Government Bond yield changes and general market conditions, the 2-year RSA Retail Savings Bond rate fell by 0.25%, while the 3 and 5-year rates have remained static for the month of September 2020.

RSB rates remain in line with Bank rates.

Historic Rates

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Rate Commentary for August 2020

Last updated 1 September 2020
COVID-19, more rate cuts expected, geopolitical risk and looking beyond lock-down easing continues to cause major moves in the local fixed income market.
Retail Bonds still offer substantial value over Government Bond yields, however, spreads are materially lower than the March spike

The monthly change in underlying Government Bond yields is a good proxy, for any RSB rate changes, however the spread added to Government Bond yields to arrive at RSB rates can adjust to retail market conditions.  RSB rates remain competitive compared to the Banks.

As depicted in the 5-year Retail Savings Bond Rate versus 5-year Government Bond Rate Chart, the marginal change in the 5-year rate with no change in the RSB rate means the spread over Government bonds remains at usual spreads for September 2020.

Similarly, the 2 and 3-year RSB rate spread over Government Bonds continue to narrow for their respective terms, toward their long term average spreads.

Investment rates for new bonds are set by the National Treasury at the start of each month, and are primarily determined based on the levels at which Government Bonds are trading in the capital markets. By keeping an eye how these bond levels have changed over the month, it is possible to get a good idea what changes, if any can be expected in RSB levels. This information is useful in determining whether to buy or re-start now, or hold off in the hope of better levels next month.

For those interested in more detail in the moves of the RSB bonds relative to Government bonds, more detail is below

5-year Retail Savings Bond Rate versus 5-year Government Bond Rate

Click on chart to enlarge

RSA RSB Rates are changed in minimum steps of 0.25%
How do the RSA Retail Bonds rates compare to Bank Deposit rates?
Last updated 1 September 2020

Most Retail Banks are paying less competitive rates compared to RSBs, particularly for longer term fixed deposits.

Given that the RSBs are:

  • a better credit

  • can be re-started should rates go higher, and

  • for the over 60’s can be redeemed reasonably cheaply,

means that they certainly offer great value relative to bank term deposits.

Since the several and still expected SARB repo rate cuts this year, the short end of the Government Bond yield curve has dropped materially .  As a result the current RSB curve shows better relative value in the longer end, with some good value shown by some banks for the very short terms.

For those able to access these top rates (typically you need to be 60+ and have R100,000 to invest), bank deposits are still worth considering as part of a savings portfolio.

Top Market Retail Rates September 2020

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The significant value associated with the re-start option however, means that we continue to favour a larger holding of RSB relative to term bank deposits.
BankLast rate refresh date
ABSA1 Sep 2020
FNB17 Aug 2020
Nedbank1 Sep 2020
Standard Bank1 Sep 2020
RSA Retail Bonds1 Sep 2020

At this stage, we only compare the “Big 4 SA Banks” retail rates given their credit quality is closest to RSA Retail Savings Bonds.  Over time we may look to add the other banks.  Refer to Insight

The latest published rates are used, where we find each bank’s top product offering by investment term for an investment of R100,000 by a 60+ year old investor. This view of banks’ top rates provides a good overall guide to SA bank rates, their differences and trends.

It is interesting that for competitive reasons the Banks always pay very much the same rates in the wholesale markets. In the retail market however, the rates can be materially different – so keep an eye on what is available and negotiate your rate!

South African Government Bonds

Fixed Rate RSA Retail Savings Bond rates are primarily set off and affected by the yields of Fixed Rate South African Government Bonds traded on capital markets.  General market conditions also affect the final Retail Savings Bond rate offered.

As at 31 August 2020, Government Bond Rates were as follows:

Bond NameTerm to Maturity (Years)Yield %

Interpolating the rates as at 31 August 2020, we obtain 2, 3 and 5-year Government Bond Rates

Interpolated Term (Years)Interpolated Yield %

SA Government Bond yields for the last 12 months.

Click on charts to enlarge

SA Government Bond yields revert to recent downward trend with more rate cut expectations.  Curve slightly steeper, with short rates falling more than longer term rates

2-Year: SA Government Bond vs RSB yields

3-Year: SA Government Bond vs RSB yields

5-Year: SA Government Bond vs RSB yields

BondClub Market Data

The BondClub Market Data section provides a handy general summary of rates in the SA Retail Savings Market as well as some commentary about it.

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