Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko

Johannesburg - South Africa's rand hovered near the previous day's week lows against the dollar on Thursday and was likely to stay under pressure after the finance minister painted a dim picture of the economic outlook in his medium-term budget.

The local bourse was set to open slightly lower at 07h00 GMT, as indicated by a 0.27 percent dip in the Top-40 futures index .

At 06h48 GMT, the rand traded at 13.5135 to the dollar, little changed from Wednesday's closing level at 13.5300.

The local unit had fallen more than 1.6 percent during Wednesday's session, hitting a trough of 13.5400 after Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene cut the growth forecast and indicated the budget deficit would remain under pressure for the next three years.

The Treasury also said public spending would rise over the next three years to 4.7 trillion rand mainly due to above-inflation public sector wage increases, raising the spectre of credit downgrades for Africa's most developed economy.

“In our view (the budget) underwhelmed, leaving unanswered questions about South Africa's fiscal outlook and ability to achieve fiscal consolidation,” Barclays Africa said in a note.

“The rand could remain on the back foot against its major peers today.”

Government bonds extended the previous day's losses, with the yield for debt due in 2026 adding 4.5 basis points to 8.455 percent, a three-week high.

Reuters