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Rand pauses rally with investors in wait-and-see mode

Consumer inflation and retail sales figures expected on Wednesday.

The rand traded flat early on Monday, pausing a recent rally that pushed it past 14.00 to the dollar as investors waited for new developments in a holiday-shortened week across global markets.

At 0630 GMT the rand was 0.05% firmer at 13.96, stretching gains made since the beginning of April to more than 3% that saw it break through 14.00 on Wednesday for the first time since late February.

While the domestic newsflow has pointed to a sluggish economic performance in the first quarter after weeks of electricity outages into mid-March and an uncertain outcome to national elections due in May, the rand has found support offshore.

A dovish turn by the United States Federal Reserve and progress in Washington’s trade dispute with Beijing, coupled with data on Friday showing Chinese exports rebounded sharply and new bank loans increased, have underpinned demand for emerging currencies.

Traders expect muted movements in the rand and global currencies generally, with volumes dampened by the first of four consecutive shortened trading weeks, as a series of public holidays in Europe and across emerging markets begins with Easter Friday.

Locally, Stats SA publishes consumer inflation and retail sales figures on Wednesday, while China’s first-quarter GDP and activity data on the same day are the main market events.

Bonds opened flat, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year issue steady at 8.475%. 

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