The dollar and the rand. Picture: REUTERS/ SIPHIWE SIBEKO
The dollar and the rand. Picture: REUTERS/ SIPHIWE SIBEKO

The rand cheered the stinging rebuke President Jacob Zuma received in court on Wednesday by strengthening from R13.72/$ to R13.43/$, and held under R13.50/$ on Thursday morning despite the US central bank raising interest rates.

The rand was at R13.47/$, R15.94/€ and R18.10/£ at 6.30am.

The rand’s "Ramaphosa rally" resumed as Zuma’s three legal defeats this week raised Cyril Ramaphosa’s chances of beating Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at the election for a new ANC president, at the party’s conference that starts on Friday.

The rand held on to most of its gains in the face of the US Federal Reserve Bank raising the upper bound of its interest rate target range to 1.5% from 1.25% on Wednesday night as expected.

Thursday is a busy day for central banks, with the Bank of England expected to hold its interest rate steady at 0.5% at 2pm and the European Central Bank to hold its at zero at 2:45pm.

Other central banks scheduled to announce interest rate decisions on Thursday include Switzerland and the Philippines.

Thursday is also a busy day on the economics front, with Statistics SA scheduled to release 10 reports, and the Reserve Bank scheduled to release the country’s current account deficit figure for the September quarter at about 10am.

SA’s current account deficit is expected to have narrowed to about R92bn in the third quarter from R110bn in the second, according to a poll of economists done by Trading Economics.

The most important of the releases from Stats SA on Thursday is November’s producer price index (PPI) at 11.30am. The annual change in the PPI is used to measure farm and factory gate inflation.

The annual change in PPI is expected to have slowed to about 4.9% in November from 5% in October.

Producer inflation tends to be more volatile than consumer inflation, which Stats SA reported on Wednesday to have slowed to 4.6% in November from 4.8% in October.

Other releases from Stats SA on Thursday are October’s civil cases for debt at 9am, September quarter financial statistics at 9am, October’s wholesale trade figures at 10am, September quarter municipal financial statistics at 10am, export and import value indices at 11.30am, November’s contract price adjustment provisions indices at 12am, October’s building statistics at 1pm, a biannual domestic tourism report at 1pm, and November’s liquidations and insolvencies figures at 2.30pm.

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