UPDATE 1-South Africa's rand recovers as dollar slips, stocks look for next catalyst

  • Reuters
  • Forex News
UPDATE 1-South Africa's rand recovers as dollar slips, stocks look for next catalyst
Credit: © Reuters.

(Updates rand , bonds; adds stocks)

JOHANNESBURG, April 12 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand recovered from initial losses on Monday on the back of a weaker dollar as traders awaited crucial U.S. inflation and retail sales data in coming days.

At 1500 GMT the rand was ZAR=D3 0.27% firmer at 14.5750.

The currency rallied to 14.4475 last week, its strongest in six weeks, but again failed to hold below 14.50.

Recent demand for emerging-market currencies has been driven by weakness in the U.S. dollar and Treasury yields after minutes from the U.S. central bank's latest meeting showed it was in no hurry to tighten monetary policy.

But the rocky outlook for South Africa's economy, which shrunk by a record 7% in 2020 and has shown signs of a sticky rebound in 2021, has halted the rand's rally, with investors taking profits and awaiting new data. South Africa's February mining and retail sales numbers due this week are expected to give some insights into the health of the local economy in the first quarter, the major economic focus was on U.S. data.

"While we wait for a new catalyst to provide the local unit with direction, markets will be keeping a close eye on U.S. inflation," Citadel Global executive director Bianca Botes said.

U.S. consumer price data for March was due on Tuesday and retail sales data on Thursday.

Investors feared that a bigger-than-expected spike in inflation could spark another rally in the greenback. no local catalyst, stocks fell, taking their cue from weakness in global stock markets as traders look for fresh news to drive the market higher as the U.S. earnings season kicks off this week.

Gold also slipped as an uptick in U.S. Treasury yields dimmed bullion's appeal. This led to the mining index .JMINI falling 2.93% with Harmony Gold HARJ.J leading the decline at 4.51%

The Johannesburg All-share index .JALSH was down 1.19%, while the Top-40 index .JTOPI fell 1.28%.

Since the stock market bottomed on March 19 last year, equities have been driven by the reopening of economies after lockdowns to combat COVID-19 and supportive fiscal and monetary policies, boding well for an economic rebound.

Some better than expected earnings and dividends despite the impact of the pandemic on companies' top and bottom line growth, had also boosted stocks as well as vaccination programmes.

The All-share index has jumped by 78% since March 19 last year to date.

Bonds weakened, with the yield on the benchmark 2030 ZAR2030= government issue up 7 basis points to 9.370%.

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