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

The rand was mixed against major global currencies on Thursday morning — flat against the dollar, but firming a little against sterling — as the market watches the UK for signs of who will be the next Prime Minister.

There was much for investors to digest on Thursday,  including US President Donald Trump's tariff threats against Germany over that country's support for a Russian gas pipeline, while an attack on two oil tankers near the Persian Gulf sent the oil price sharply higher.

The rand slid 1.37% against the dollar on Wednesday, with the announcement that the public protector was probing President Cyril Ramaphosa not helping sentiment, amid numerous other headlines, TreasuryOne senior currency dealer Andre Botha said.

Local and economic data, however, has been supportive, with domestic retail sales figures on Wednesday coming in at 2.4% year on year growth in April, twice the rate the market expected. Local focus now shifts to mining data for the same month, due at 11.30am.

US inflation data for May on Wednesday came in under expectations, raising hopes the US Federal Reserve will move to cut interest rates in order to address flagging economic growth.

At 9.30am the rand was flat at R14.8767/$, while falling 0.15% to R16.8105/€, and strengthening 0.11% to R18.8523/£. The euro was 0.1% firmer at $1.1298.

International data on Thursday will be closely watched, with  eurozone industrial production numbers and US jobs data, both for April, on the calendar.

The UK's Conservative Party will also begin voting on candidates for the leader of the UK, with eurosceptic politician Boris Johnson the front runner.

Although the pound should remain under some pressure as the voting continues, Johnson has indicated he was not aiming for a no-deal Brexit, London Capital Group senior market analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya said in a note.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za