Picture: REUTERS, SIPHIWE SIBEKO
Picture: REUTERS, SIPHIWE SIBEKO

The rand was slightly softer against major global currencies on Friday morning, as investors digested mixed news related to China.

Sentiment towards risk assets has been boosted a little by news  US President Donald Trump intends to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping soon, in order to finalise a new trade deal. Both US and Chinese officials have reported progress in talks held in Washington this week.

At the same time, Chinese data disappointed. China's manufacturing sector contracted more at the start of 2019, with a private gauge falling to its lowest level in nearly three years, Dow Jones reported.

At 10am the rand was 0.34% weaker across the board at R13.2927/$, R15.2166/€ and R17.4286/£. The euro was flat at $1.1447.

The rand is roughly where it was against the dollar on Thursday morning, when it was weakening a little after a 2% jump overnight on Wednesday. A dovish US Federal Reserve open market committee announcement was behind the surge in buying of emerging-market currencies.

Focus is now expected to shift to US nonfarm payrolls data, due at 3.30pm South African time.

Locally, the monthly Absa-sponsored SA manufacturing PMI for December is due at 11am, followed by January’s new vehicle sales figures at about 2pm.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za