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Rand little changed, eyes on retail sales data

The rand was little changed against the dollar in early trade on Wednesday amid uncertainty over Brexit and as market participants awaited the release of local retail sales data for clues on the health of the domestic economy.

Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The rand was little changed against the dollar in early trade on Wednesday amid uncertainty over Brexit and as market participants awaited the release of local retail sales data for clues on the health of the domestic economy.

At 0643 GMT, the rand traded at R13.7250 per dollar, not far off its New York close of R13.7425 on Tuesday.

“In terms of the day ahead, risk sentiment is likely to sour and weigh on EM currencies and equity stocks, as market participants digest the uncertainty around Brexit,” RMB analyst Mpho Tsebe said in a note. “In terms of data, we look to November’s retail sales data for a clearer picture on how the economy fared in the fourth quarter.”

British lawmakers defeated Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit divorce deal by a crushing margin, the worst parliamentary defeat for a government in recent British history.

Statistics South Africa will publish November retail sales data at 1100 GMT.

The rand fell on Tuesday after worse-than-expected mining data pointed to lingering weakness in Africa’s most industrialised economy.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 dipped 2 basis points to 8.785% in early trade.

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