Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

JOHANNESBURG - The South African currency whipsawed in tandem with the greenback as markets digested an in-line US inflation release while positioning for a jam-packed week ahead. 

The local economic calendar will be dominated by tomorrow’s monetary policy decision, with the Sarb set to maintain the repo rate at 6.5 percent in our view. The rand stumbled early in the session on a sombre consumer confidence reading earlier yesterday, with sentiment remaining near two-year low levels as South Africans grappled with extended hours of load-shedding and weak purchasing power. At the close of local trade, the rand quoted 0.10 percent stronger at R14.40/$, after trading in range of R14.36/$ - R14.50/$. The rand traded flat overnight ahead of major local data releases. Expected range today R14.25/$ - R14.55/$.

South African bourse

The JSE All Share (+0.69 percent) was buoyed by the likes of Massmart (+8.64 percent), Woolworths (+8.30 percent) and Old Mutual (+3.25 percent). Investors welcomed the appointment of Levi Strauss executive Roy Bagattini as Woolies’ new Chief Executive, who is now tasked with tackling the retail chain’s struggling Australian business. Markets also reacted positively to a South African High Court’s ruling that Old Mutual does not have to reinstate its former chief executive Peter Moyo, who was sacked over an alleged conflict of interest. In the overall emerging market sphere, the MSCI Emerging Market Index (-0.01 percent) was basically unchanged.

Brent crude oil

The Brent oil price traded higher yesterday, in anticipation of today’s signing of the first phase of a trade deal between China and the US. At the close of local trade, benchmark Brent crude futures quoted 0.61 percent higher at $64.63pb. Crude prices traded softer during Asian trade this morning. 

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