Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO
Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO

The rand was little changed on Wednesday afternoon but retained Tuesday’s nearly 2% gain on the dollar, as global markets await the latest decision by the US central bank.

The Fed is expected to announce its decision on interest rates on Wednesday after a two-day meeting — it is expected to keep interest rates on hold, despite US President Donald Trump pushing for cuts.

The rand firmed on Tuesday after European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi said the bank may consider loosening monetary policy should inflation remain low.

By 2.35pm, the rand was flat at R14.5325/$, while it had weakened 0.13% to R16.2824/€ and 0.26% to R18.2887/£. The euro was little changed at $1,1204.

The benchmark R186 government bond was stronger, with its yield falling seven basis points to 8.195%. Bond yields move inversely to bond prices.

Gold was flat at $1,345.34/oz while platinum had gained 0.34% to $804.73. Brent crude was down 0.77% to $61.76 a barrel. 

Efficient Group chief economist Dawie Roodt said although the rand was benefiting from external factors, it was still reeling from ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s comments on changing the mandate of the Reserve Bank.

“The US is suggesting that they are going to cut interest rates, the ECB is hinting at introducing quantitative easing and the rand has been totally over-hammered in the past few weeks. Those are the three factors contributing to the appreciation of the rand,” Roodt said.

“The rand should have appreciated much more and should have gone below R14.30/$ if it were not for the ANC’s comments on the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank and talks of quantitative easing.”

Consumer inflation for May accelerated 0.1 percentage point to 4.5% year on year, Statistics SA said earlier, a littler higher than the Bloomberg analysts' consensus of 4.4%.

mjoo@businesslive.co.za