UPDATE 1-South Africa's rand inches weaker in wait-and-see session

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UPDATE 1-South Africa's rand inches weaker in wait-and-see session
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(Adds latest prices, analyst comments)

JOHANNESBURG, July 16 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand edged weaker in subdued trade on Tuesday with market participants awaiting a local lending rates decision and one by the U.S. central bank next week before making any big calls.

At 1500 GMT the rand ZAR=D3 was 0.1% weaker at 13.9150 per dollar, hardly budging from the overnight close of 13.9025.

Early trade saw the rand touch a session best of 13.8350 before strong growth in U.S. retail sales re-energized the greenback and dampened expectations of a deep rate cut by the Federal Reserve next week.

Locally, retail sales data due on Wednesday will likely be overshadowed by the policy decision by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) on Thursday.

Twenty-four of 30 economists in a survey by Reuters said the SARB would cut rates by 25 basis points to 6.50% on July 18. Two expected a cut of 50 basis points. The other four said rates would be left unchanged. the bourse, stocks rose with other emerging market assets ahead of U.S. economic data releases later on Tuesday that could provide clues to the country's future monetary policy. benchmark Johannesburg Stock Exchange Top-40 Index .JTOPI was up 0.9% to 51,908 points while the broader All-Share Index .JALSH closed 0.8% higher at 57,996 points.

"I think maybe [there is] a push towards some of the riskier kind of assets that are coming through closer to the interest rate drops," Bruno van Eck, trader at Thebe Stockbroking, said, referring to the upcoming decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Paper and pulp producer Sappi SAPJ.J and energy and chemicals company Sasol SOLJ.J were the day's biggest winners on the blue-chip index with Sappi up 4.26% and Sasol up 3.35%.

Platinum miners Anglo American (LON: AAL ) Platinum AMSJ.J rose 1.24% to 804.63 rand after announcing that they expected their half-year earnings to double. were slightly firmer, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 paper ZAR186= down 1.5 basis points to 8.025%.

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