Picture: REUTERS/JASON LEE
Picture: REUTERS/JASON LEE

The rand was a little firmer against major global currencies on Tuesday afternoon, benefiting from a weaker dollar environment.

All eyes are on the US Federal Reserve monetary policy announcement on Wednesday, with markets expecting the Fed to once again adopt a dovish tone, and possibly downgrade its growth forecasts for 2019.

Pressure on the dollar has boosted the gold price, to the benefit of SA, which is a major producer.

Gold has found favour due to the dovish stance taken by central banks around the world, and the dollar has “hit a ceiling”, said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.

Some focus on Wednesday will also be on local data, with both retail sales numbers for January and the February inflation rate due. Better-than-expected numbers could benefit the rand, but the local currency’s longer-term outlook remained dependent on international factors, said FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga.

At 2pm, the rand the rand was up 0.45% to R14.3737/$, 0.27% at R16.3235/€ and 0.23% at R19.084/£. The euro was 0.18% stronger at $1.1355.

Some focus is also on Brexit, with UK Prime Minister Theresa May scrambling for a solution after her plans to table her draft agreement for a third vote was blocked.

May is expected to meet EU leaders on Thursday, but analysts say her attempts to get an small extension on the Brexit deadline may be a tough sell.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za