S.Africa's rand inches firmer after Trump speech lacks detail

PUBLISHED: Wed, 01 Mar 2017 08:43:20 GMT

South Africa’s rand edged firmer early on Wednesday, defying a slide by most emerging market currencies triggered by speeches by U.S. federal reserve officials signalling the bank was on tack for a rate hike this month.

* By 0640 GMT the rand was 0.11 percent firmer at 13.1125 dollar, little changed from its overnight close of 13.1300.

* A much anticipated speech by President Donald Trump failed to yield detail on his proposed fiscal stimulus plan, and was instead overshadowed by Fed policymakers suggesting they were worried about waiting too long to lift rates.

* Traders see the rand remaining within a narrow range, with 13.0500 offering resistance.

“The bigger hindrance to sustained rand strength is no doubt the concerns of a possible cabinet reshuffle, with nervousness growing by the day,” trader at Standard Bank Inshaan Omar said in a note.

* Stocks set to open slightly higher at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 futures index up 0.14 percent.

* Bonds were weaker, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 up 2.5 basis points to 8.825 percent.

(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Ed Stoddard)

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