The rand was weaker against major currencies on Wednesday afternoon, with its losses to the dollar outstripping those of its emerging-market peers.

While much focus is on news from global central bankers, local data was mixed on Wednesday. The rand remained on the back foot after President Jacob Zuma’s latest Cabinet reshuffle.

Analysts said while reaction to the reshuffle on Tuesday was less severe than what was seen during previous Cabinet changes, political risk was building ahead of reviews by ratings agencies, and the ANC elective congress in December.

With a weak economic outlook, foreigners were likely to continue to sell off their South African equities holdings on a net basis, preventing the rand from making a marked appreciation, said Investec chief economist Annabel Bishop.

Market participants will be all ears when central bankers, including US Federal Reserve officials, make speeches later on Wednesday.

"With possible higher interest rates in the US than the markets’ currently anticipate, the risk is tilted somewhat towards further rand weakness," said Bishop. "Inflation globally is likely to lift gradually in the second half of 2018, if not 2019, resulting in higher interest rates."

Earlier, Statistics SA reported that the headline consumer inflation for September was 5.1%, up from 4.8% in August, and higher than economists’ 4.9% projection.

Retail trade sales, however, increased by a significant 5.5% year on year in August 2017, beating a Trading Economics consensus forecast of 2%.

At 3pm‚ the rand was at R13.553 to the dollar from R13.3927, at R15.9446 to the euro from R15.7621, and at R17.8431 to the pound from R17.6569.

The euro was at $1.1765 from $1.1768.

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