The rand traded sideways yesterday, with investors holding fire ahead of second quarter economic growth figures. African News Agency (ANA)
JOHANNESBURG - The rand traded sideways yesterday, with investors holding fire ahead of second quarter economic growth figures that could help gauge the future direction for the currency.

At 5pm, the rand bid at R15.1827 to the dollar, hardly changed from the same time on Friday, extending the currency’s subdued run in the past few sessions, with a break of R15.50 eyed by bears failing to materialise.

Stats SA will today publish second quarter gross domestic product figures.

The South Africa economy contracted 3.2percent in the first quarter, hit by nationwide power outages by cash-strapped state power firm Eskom.

A Reuters poll of economists forecasts second quarter GDP expanding 2.4percent.

The ongoing trade spat between China and the US has also dampened demand for emerging currencies.

South Africa’s Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) declined in August to 45.7 from 52.1 in July, as business activity and new sales orders slumped, reflecting worries about local and global growth.

Bonds rallied on the day, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 down 7 basis points to 8.16percent.

Stocks fell in line with subdued global markets amid lower volumes with US markets closed for a holiday yesterday.

The benchmark JSE Top40 index retreated 0.87percent to 48889.37 points, while the broader all share index dropped 0.86percent to 54785.18 points. I Reuter

REUTERS