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Rand marginally lower ahead of rates decision

All 27 economists polled by Reuters had predicted the central bank would keep the rate unchanged at 6.75%, but said a hike was likely in May due to rising inflation.

Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand was slightly weaker against the dollar in early trade on Thursday ahead of a central bank interest rate decision and US jobs data later in the day.

At 0632 GMT, the rand traded at R13.7250 per dollar, 0.22% weaker than its New York close of R13.6950 on Wednesday.

“Cautious market participants are still weighing in on emerging markets, resulting in a rand which is experiencing quite a bit of resistance on its strengthening path – but slow and steady wins the race,” said Bianca Botes, corporate treasury manager at Peregrine.

“The SARB (South African Reserve Bank) is widely expected to keep interest rates on hold today, following a 25-bps hike in November. We will also keep an eye on jobless claims coming out of the US this afternoon. A continuation of the strong jobs data trend could provide the dollar with a boost.”

All 27 economists polled by Reuters had predicted the central bank would keep the rate unchanged at 6.75%, but said a hike was likely in May due to rising inflation.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 added 2 basis points to 8.8% in early trade.

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