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Rand firms ahead of US Fed speech

The rand firmed slightly against the dollar on Wednesday as markets awaited the outcome of a US meeting.

FILE: SA’s rand firmed slightly against the dollar on Wednesday as markets awaited the outcome of a US meeting. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand firmed slightly against the dollar on Wednesday as markets awaited the outcome of a US Federal Reserve meeting on its direction regarding interest rates.

The US Fed is expected to end its stimulus programme that at its peak pumped $85 billion dollar a month into the financial system to hold interest rates down and boost the flagging economy.

But investors were focusing on what direction the Fed would take in terms of interest rates.

"We are looking out for the wording in the [Fed] speech on interest rates going forward. We are waiting for an indication on where interest rates will go," said Marten Banninga, head of bond trading at WWC Securities.

The rand traded at 10.845 to the dollar at 1515 GMT, 0.4 percent firmer from its New York close.

Data on Wednesday showed that growth in credit demand from South Africa's private sector was little changed while the measure of money supply quickened compared to last year.

Banninga said the market was also betting the unemployment data and producer price index data expected on Thursday would be little changed from last month.

The yield on the benchmark 2026 bond was unchanged at 7.89 percent.