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Rand dips ahead of lending rates decision

The rand gave back the marginal gains it made in the previous session, having edged ahead after consumer inflation data on Wednesday showed price growth dipped below the Reserve Bank’s midpoint target of 4.5%.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand weakened in early trade on Thursday ahead of a policy meeting by the central bank where the regulator is expected to leave lending rates unchanged.

At 0645 GMT, the rand was 0.4% weaker at R14.4325 per dollar versus a close at R14.3725 overnight in New York.

The rand gave back the marginal gains it made in the previous session, having edged ahead after consumer inflation data on Wednesday showed price growth dipped below the Reserve Bank’s midpoint target of 4.5%.

A Reuters poll of economists and analysts conducted last week forecast the central bank will leave interest rates unchanged at 6.75%, resisting pressure to lower lending to support flagging economic growth.

With local rates seen flat for most of 2019, rand moves are set to be dominated by offshore investors, who are influenced by the US-China trade spat and lending rates in developed markets.

Minutes releases late Wednesday from the Federal Reserve’s most recent meeting showed bank members agreed on keeping lending rates steady “for some time” - a move that would support high yield currencies like the rand.

Bonds were weaker, with the yield on benchmark 2026 paper up 3.5 basis points to 8.445%.

In stocks, health group Mediclinic reported a 4% slide in full-year core profit, as regulatory changes for its Swiss business weighed.

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