South Africa’s rand was mostly flat against the dollar in early Friday trade, with traders and analysts expecting it to take its steer from global trends as investors await next week’s domestic monetary policy statement.
The local bourse looked set for a strong start at 0700 GMT, as indicated by a 1.7 percent jump in the Top-40 futures index .
The rand was changing hands at 16.5400 to the greenback by 0655 GMT, just 0.13 percent firmer than its 16.5610 Thursday close in New York.
The rand has had a turbulent start to 2016, shedding 7 percent after losing about a quarter of its value last year as investors fretted about South Africa’s economic prospects and those of China, a major importer of local commodities.
“We maintain that the trend for the rand is to move weaker, and we’d expect pull-backs to be shortlived,” Standard Bank said in a market note.
The sharply weaker rand is expected to drive inflation higher, forcing the South African Reserve Bank to raise interest rates next week despite sluggish economic growth of around 1.5 percent, according to economists polled by Reuters.
On the debt market, government bonds edged higher, and the yield for the instrument maturing in 2026 dipped 2 basis points to 9.615 percent.