People walk near the reception at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in Sandton, Johannesburg. Picture: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS
People walk near the reception at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in Sandton, Johannesburg. Picture: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS

With one piece of big news out of the way — the US Federal Reserve’s policy announcement on Wednesday night — the local market will be looking at the Reserve Bank’s decision on South African interest rates later on Thursday.

The Fed announced the start of sales of some of the $4.5-trillion in assets it accumulated in its stimulus programme to tackle the 2008-09 financial crisis, and signalled it would raise interest rates again before the end of the year.

The dollar was stronger in early trade on Thursday as a result. The dollar strength, combined with an expected rate cut in SA, could put pressure on the rand and benefit rand hedge stocks such as British American Tobacco and Richemont. Rand hedges were lower on Wednesday, though, before the Fed’s decision, as the rand strengthened.

Asian shares were mostly weaker on Thursday, though export-oriented Japanese shares benefited from the dollar’s strength.

The stronger dollar was weighing on gold, which tends to move in the opposite direction from the greenback, as the stronger dollar makes the metal more expensive to buy in other currencies.

Please sign in or register to comment.