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CAPE TOWN - The rand retreated slightly after data showed private sector credit demand growth slowed in July.

At 5pm, the rand was bid at R13.0124 to the dollar, 2.93c softer than at the same time on Wednesday.

Data supporting an interest rate cut weighed on momentum, after the rand had broken past the key level of 13. Private sector credit demand growth slowed to 5.71% in July from 6.16% in June, central bank data showed.

“Domestic economic activity remains subdued and credit growth moderate, while the inflation outlook is improving. This supports our view that the SARB (SA Reserve Bank) will probably cut rates one more time this year in September,” analysts at Nedbank said in a note.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was flat.

On the bourse, retailers and banks were under pressure as credit growth added to concerns about consumer spending, on the main engine of South African economic growth.

FirstRand fell 1.92% to R55.67 and Barclays Africa Group lost 1.61% to R148.84.

The benchmark JSE Top40 index slipped 0.42% to 49674.92 points and the broader all share index dropped 0.43% to close at 56168 points.

Meanwhile, investors piled back into European stocks yesterday, boosting indices higher in a rally a day after geopolitical concern caused a drop across equity markets.

The pan-European STOXX 600 gained 0.7%, recovering nearly all the ground lost the day before when North Korea’s missile launch sparked a sell-off.