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Rand flat amid fears of gloomy economy

The rand traded flat on Wednesday, hovering near a four-session peak, as cautious investors awaited clues on the economy ahead of key manufacturing data.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand traded flat on Wednesday, hovering near a four-session peak, as cautious investors awaited clues on the economy ahead of key manufacturing data.

The statistics agency will publish manufacturing data on Thursday, the first set of key indicators since last week’s dismal budget speech where the finance minister slashed the 2019 economic growth forecast to 0.5% for 2019.

At 0610 GMT, the rand was 0.02% firmer at R14.7440 per dollar, barely changed from its overnight close of R14.7500.

The rand has gained nearly 3% since Friday after ratings firm Moody’s kept the country’s credit status at investment level, while a global bout of demand for risk assets also supported the currency.

However, economic data in the last session, with a purchasing manager’s index remaining in contraction for a sixth month in a row and consumer confidence slipping to its lowest since 2017 in the third quarter, may begin to weigh.

Traders said dollar buyers targeting the 14.70 technical level may also chip away at the rand’s momentum.

Bonds opened slightly weaker, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 adding 1 basis point to 8.405%.

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