Rand steadies as dollar slumps after subdued US inflation data
The rand was steady in late afternoon trade on Friday as the dollar came under pressure. This followed the release of subdued US consumer inflation data, which could put further US interest-rate increases on hold.
US consumer prices rose an annual 1.7% in July, up slightly from 1.6% in June, but lower than the expected 1.8%. Together with lower-than-expected producer price inflation released earlier in the week, the US Federal Reserve is expected to remain wary about lifting rates with the 2% target still some way off.
The US producer price index slipped 0.1% in July, weighed down by decreasing costs for services. That was the largest decline since August 2016.
US consumer inflation has largely remained unchanged at 1.7% for the past 12 months, despite full employment, as stubbornly low wage growth has put a lid on further rate increases.
At 3.32pm the rand was at R13.4605 to the dollar from R13.4607, trading in a range between R13.42 and R13.52 as the market awaited Moody’s review of SA’s sovereign rating later on Friday, after the JSE’s closure.
"We anticipate that Moody’s assessment will remain unchanged, even as their concerns remain unaddressed," analysts at Sasfin said.
The rand was at R15.8875 to the euro from R15.8471 and at R17.4522 to the pound from R17.4682.
The euro was at $1.1803 from $1.1773.
Spot gold and the yen was largely unchanged after gaining on Thursday in risk-off trade, following renewed concern about escalating global tension between the US and North Korea.