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JOHANNESBURG - The rand edged lower yesterday in cautious trade ahead of an interest rate decision that is set to test the currency’s recent rally and its ability to draw yield-seeking investors.

At 5pm, the rand bid at R13.9712 to the dollar, 6 cents softer than at the same time on Tuesday, inching closer to the R14 mark that has in recent times determined the momentum of the currency either direction.

The SA Reserve Bank meets today. According to a Reuters poll last week, it is set to cut interest rates by 25 basis points, while forward rate markets yesterday showed investors pricing in a close to 40percent probability of a cut by that margin.

While a cut might reduce the rand’s carry-trade advantage, the impact on the currency could be limited by expectations the US Federal Reserve will also cut rates, on July31.

Government bonds were flat, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 instrument was at 8.025percent.

On the bourse, stocks fell alongside emerging market assets amid resurfacing worries over the US-China trade conflict.

The benchmark JSE Top40 index was down 0.76percent at 51565.16 points while the broader all share index dropped 0.72percent to 57636.01 points.

Aspen Pharmacare and Sappi were the worst performers on the blue chip index, falling by 3.73percent to R100 and 3.08percent to R50.65, respectively.  

REUTERS