Rand hardly changed as investors await US data
The rand steadied on Friday morning, but was poised to end a six-week winning run against the dollar, which has been wobbly since the start of the year.
A stronger rand helps keep inflation in check, although the recent pick-up in oil prices could negate its effect.
Brent crude was hovering at its highest level in three years, at $69 a barrel, a development the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee is likely to highlight during its scheduled policy meeting next week.
The market expects the committee to keep the repurchase rate unchanged at 6.75%, pending the Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s budget speech in February.
Moody’s has said it will deliver its ratings review on SA after the budget. Moody’s is the only agency that still has SA’s debt at investment grade, after Fitch and S&P Global Rating cut the country’s ratings to junk status in 2017.
But the outcome of the recent ANC national conference, which elected Cyril Ramaphosa its new leader, has raised optimism that SA could stave off another ratings downgrade.
The release of US inflation data in the afternoon could jolt the dollar and, by extension, the rand out their current ranges.
At 9.23am the rand was at R12.4010 to the dollar from close of R12.3898, at R14.9532 to the euro from R14.9076 and at R16.8021 to the pound from R16.7781.
The euro was at $1.2060 from $1.2030.