South Africa’s rand firms, stocks set to open flat

PUBLISHED: Fri, 14 Jul 2017 11:40:29 GMT

South Africa’s rand firmed against the U.S. dollar early on Friday, extending recent gains as the unit recovers from losses inspired by domestic policy uncertainties including a row over the central bank mandate.

At 0645 GMT, the rand traded at 13.1850 per dollar, 0.21 percent firmer than its overnight close.

The rand shed nearly 5 percent in the first two weeks of July after a government watchdog recommended the Reserve Bank’s (SARB) policy be changed from inflation-targeting to socio-economic welfare.

The watchdog this week retracted the proposal following court challenges by the central bank governor, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and parliament, easing pressure on the currency.

In the absence of scheduled local economic data, market focus is on global events that may affect the rand.

“There is some important U.S. macro data later with inflation, retail sales and industrial production to monitor,” Standard Bank forex trader Oliver Alwar wrote in a note.

“Locally there is always risk of convoluted headlines and local political risk, although things have quietened post last week’s African National Congress policy conference and negative inferences towards the SARB.”

Stocks were set to open flat at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 futures index largely unchanged.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 fell 3.5 basis points to 8.715 percent.

Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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