South Africa's rand steady, stocks set to open lower

by Reuters 0

South Africa’s rand steadied against the dollar early on Monday in cautious trade ahead of a slew of economic data this week that would give insight into the state of the domestic economy.

At 0645 GMT, the rand traded at 15.3750 versus the dollar, not far off its Friday’s New York close of 15.3500.

Focus for the week was on the fourth-quarter current account data on Tuesday.

“Fears about sudden outflow of capital, albeit not our baseline scenario, persist as traders keep close eye on rating agencies for talk of downgrade to junk status,” NKC African Economics analysts said in a note.

“If current account deficit comes in wider than expected it will place pressure on rand.”

South Africa relies on foreign capital flows to finance its large current account deficit.

Statistics South Africa is also expected to release January mining and manufacturing data on Thursday.

Stocks were set to open lower at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 futures index down 0.26 percent.

Shares in South African petrochemicals company Sasol were likely to react to news that the firm posted a 24 percent drop in first-half earnings and cut its interim dividend by almost 19 percent amid low oil prices.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark instrument due in 2026 was down 1 basis point to 9.295 percent.