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Rand steady at start of data-filled week

The rand steadied against the dollar in early session on Monday, as traders focus on a slew of data due in the week that will provide insight into the nation’s economic performance in the final quarter of last year.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand steadied against the dollar in early session on Monday, as traders focus on a slew of data due in the week that will provide insight into the nation’s economic performance in the final quarter of last year.

At 0635 GMT, the rand traded at R13.6175 per dollar, barely changed from its close of R13.6150 on Friday.

Statistics South Africa will publish fourth-quarter 2018 unemployment figures and December manufacturing production numbers on Tuesday.

The statistics agency will release December retail sales numbers on Wednesday, while mining production data for the same month is due on Thursday.

Markets focus also on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s budget speech on 20 February.

“The US dollar, which softened a touch against the euro last week, should provide an anchor to EM currencies this week depending on how political posturing plays out,” RMB analysts Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana and Mpho Tsebe said in a note.

“The upshot is that in the absence of any feel-good local data, the rand and, by implication, local benchmark bonds, will have little impetus to veer from their current trading ranges, with investors likely to apply a light touch to domestic markets until Minister Mboweni’s budget pronouncements next week,” they added.

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