Rand flat ahead of key economic data

Local currency at 15.34 to the dollar in early trade.
Image: Bloomberg

The rand was flat on Wednesday, as investors maintained a cautious stance ahead of economic data releases including a local business confidence index expected later in the day and a presidential address to the parliament this week.

At 0625 GMT, the rand traded at 15.34 against the dollar, not far from its previous close of 15.35.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry is due to release business confidence figures for December and January around 0930 GMT. Last year, power cuts by state utility Eskom, a longstanding problem, and riots in July rattled investor confidence in the country.

December manufacturing and mining figures will be released on Thursday, and President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to give his annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) in which he typically announces reforms.

Analysts said the rand was likely to drift around its current levels before the SONA speech, as well as US inflation data on Thursday that could influence the pace of Federal Reserve policy tightening, since both were seen as “risk events”.

The government’s benchmark 2030 bond was slightly stronger in early deals, with the yield falling 2.5 basis points to 9.315%.

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