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CAPE TOWN - The rand weakened yesterday as traders held their positions ahead of local consumer price data today and the US Federal Reserve’s annual central banking conference.

At 5pm, the rand traded at R13.2112 to the dollar, 0.36% weaker than its New York close on Monday.

Rand Merchant Bank analyst Michelle Wohlberg said markets were expected to remain relatively muted ahead of consumer price inflation (CPI) figures and Fed’s Jackson Hole symposium, where remarks by Fed chairperson Janet Yellen will be the main focus.

Investors are eyeing local CPI data for clues on the timing of further monetary policy easing after the SA Reserve Bank unexpectedly cut benchmark lending rates last month.

Market consensus is for CPI to slow to 4.6% year-on-year in July from 5.1% in June.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark paper due in 2026 rose.

Meanwhile, stocks ended on the front foot with Shoprite among the top gainers after the grocer retailer slightly beat estimates and defied recession with double digit annual profit growth.

The benchmark JSE Top40 index added 1.14% to 49588.44 points and the broader all share index gained 1.05% to 56033 points.

Shoprite, Africa’s biggest retailer, was in demand, surging 8.01% to R217.11 after reporting a 12% jump in the annual profit and said it expected momentum to continue to the 2018 fiscal year.

Global equity markets rose, lifted by mining companies in Europe and technology shares on Wall Street, while crude oil rebounded on indications supply is gradually tightening, especially in the US.

-BUSINESS REPORT