Supplied
The rand edged weaker in subdued trade yesterday with market participants awaiting a local lending rates decision and one by the US central bank next week before making any big calls.

At 5pm, the rand bid at R13.9088 to the dollar, 1 cent softer than at the same time on Monday, and hardly budging from the overnight close of R13.9025.

Early trade saw the rand touch a session best of R13.8350 before strong growth in US retail sales re-energised the greenback and dampened expectations of a deep rate cut by the US Federal Reserve next week.

Locally, retail sales data due today will likely be overshadowed by the policy decision by the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) tomorrow.

Twenty-four of 30 economists in a survey by Reuters said the SARB would cut rates by 25 basis points to 6.5 percent tomorrow. Two expected a cut of 50 basis points. The other four said rates would be left unchanged.

Bonds were slightly firmer, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 paper down 1.5 basis points to 8.025 percent.

On the bourse, stocks rose with other emerging market assets.

The benchmark JSE Top40 index was up 0.99 percent to 51958 points while the broader all share index closed 0.9 percent higher at 58052.72 points.

Paper and pulp producer Sappi and energy and chemicals company Sasol were the day’s biggest winners. 

Reuters