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Rand flat as hawkish Fed chair comments weigh

South African lawmakers on Tuesday voted in favour a motion seeking to change the constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation, a move that could spook investors according to some analysts.

Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand traded flat early on Wednesday after losing ground against the dollar overnight as comments by the new chairperson of the Federal Reserve reignited bets of higher interest rates in the United States.

At 0650 GMT, the rand was 0.02% firmer at R11.7225 per dollar compared to an overnight close of R11.7250 overnight in New York.

The rand hit a session-low of R11.7725 following new Fed chairperson Chairman Jerome Powell’s upbeat views on the economy, which stoked bets on further interest rate hikes this year and lifted the greenback to near a three-week high.

South African lawmakers on Tuesday voted in favour a motion seeking to change the constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation, a move that could spook investors according to some analysts.

In data statistics, South Africa publishes January producer inflation figures at 0930 GMT while trade balance figures are due at 1200 GMT.

Bonds were weaker, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 up 4 basis points at 8.155%.

Stocks opened lower at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 index down 1.2% at 51,390 points.

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