File image: Ratings agency, Moody's. Reuters.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand weakened against the dollar early on Monday as caution gripped investors ahead of a Moody’s credit rating review announcement and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rates decision due later in the week.

At 0645 GMT, the rand traded at 12.0375 per dollar, 0.44 percent weaker than its New York close on Friday.

Moody’s, the only major agency with an investment grade rating on South African debt but with a downgrade review, is scheduled to make a decision on Friday.

Globally, the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to hike interest rates on Wednesday and perhaps signal that as many as three more lie in store for the rest of the year.

“With a mid-week public holiday locally, as well as FOMC on Wednesday and the Moody’s announcement on Friday the markets are unlikely to display much enthusiasm in their positioning and liquidity is likely to be tested throughout,” Nedbank analysts wrote in a note.

Local focus will also be on February consumer prices inflation data and fourth-quarter 2017 current account numbers due on Tuesday.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was up 2.5 basis points at 8.17 percent.

-REUTERS