Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

The rand was slightly softer against major global currencies on Monday afternoon, extending losses slightly, after US data was better than expected.

US Retail sales grew 0.6% in March compared to February, outpacing the 0.4% growth expected in a Trading Economics consensus forecast.

This is the first time retail sales have seen growth since November, with the number being closely watched as markets consider how fast the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in 2018.

"Retail sales have taken a dip at the start of the year but the trend remains solid and you would expect tax reforms to be supportive for spending over the course of the year," Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said.

Global markets staged a mild relief rally on Monday, reacting to a military strike on Syria by the US and its allies that was not as extensive as feared.

Although there were signals of no further military action in Syria, there is still some expectation that the US may push ahead with further sanctions against Russia over Syria, while tension with Iran continues, analysts said.

Consumer inflation data in the US and SA on Wednesday are the major risk events, with the South African print representing the last inflation reading before a one percentage point increase in the VAT rate takes effect.

At 3pm, the rand was at R12.0789 to the dollar from R12.0643, R14.9545 to the euro from R14.8795 and at R17.2860 to the pound from R17.1878.

The euro was at $1.2381, from $1.2334.