Cape Town - The rand retreated along with most emerging-market currencies after China drained funds from its banking system and before South African inflation data that may indicate future interest-rate moves.

Only three of 24 developing-nation currencies gained against the dollar today as China sold repurchase contracts for the first time since June.

South African consumer prices accelerated to 5.7 percent in January from 5.4 percent the month before, a release tomorrow may show, according to the median estimate of 24 economists in a Bloomberg survey.

The central bank unexpectedly lifted its key rate on January 29, though Governor Gill Marcus said further increases are not automatic.

“The problem for the rand remains potential for speculators to target it,” John Cairns, a currency strategist at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg, said in an e-mailed note to clients.

“Increasingly, the trader view is short the rand until the Reserve Bank shows the resolve of the Turkish central bank,” which more than doubled key interest rates at an emergency meeting on January 28, he said.

The rand weakened 0.5 percent to 10.8736 per dollar by 9:43 a.m. in Johannesburg.

Yields on benchmark bonds due December 2026 were unchanged at 8.64 percent.

International investors sold a net 275 million rand of South African bonds on February 17, bringing outflows this year to 18.36 billion rand, according to JSE Ltd. data. - Bloomberg News