Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The rand was marginally firmer against major global currencies on Wednesday afternoon, as global events gave traders a great deal of information to parse.

A sharply falling oil price, the possibility of a Brexit deal, and economic data releases all vied for attention, with the local currency brushing off bad news locally.

Retail sales data for September disappointed, rising 0.7% year-on-year, well below expectations of growth of 2.2%.

European data also disappointed, with third-quarter growth in Germany slowing to a four-year low.

At 2pm, the rand was 0.32% stronger against the dollar at R14.4087, 0.49% against the euro at R16.2416, and 0.61% against the pound at R18.6341. The euro had fallen 0.17% to $1.1271.

Issues of the Italian budget deficit continue to hover over the markets, but all eyes on are on the UK as Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to try and sell a draft Brexit agreement to British lawmakers.

“May has a real task on her hands now, that may make negotiations with the EU look like a walk in the park by comparison,” said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.

Some focus is also on US inflation data for September, due at 3.30pm local time.