Rand starts week under pressure

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NewRandMoney Reuters.

Johannesburg - South Africa's rand was weaker against the dollar on Monday near a five-year low as the market looked ahead to a central bank interest rate decision and December trade figures later in the week.

The rand, which has been weighed down by strikes in the platinum sector and risk-off sentiment in emerging markets, was at 11.1480 to the dollar at 08:55 SA time, down 0.5 percent from Friday's New York close.

The Reserve Bank will announce its decision on interest rates at the end of a three-day monetary policy meeting on Wednesday.

Economists surveyed by Reuters last week said they expected the bank to keep its repo rate unchanged at 40-year lows of 5 percent.

The South African Revenue Service will also release trade data for December on Friday.

The rand and other emerging market currencies came under pressure last week as investors sought safe haven assets.

They are likely to remain under strain this week ahead of the US Federal Reserve's policy meeting where it could announce a further reduction in its monetary stimulus.

“We expect the rand to remain at the mercy of emerging market sentiment over the coming week,” Absa Capital analysts wrote in a note.

“Hence, even if the SARB is more hawkish than expected, local strike activity abates or we get another encouraging local trade balance print, the rand is likely to remain on the back foot if emerging market sentiment remains poor.”

The yield on the 2026 government bond edged up 2 basis points to 8.585 percent while that on the 2015 paper was up 1 basis point at 6.48 percent. - Reuters



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