Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The rand was marginally softer on Wednesday morning and is expected to remain range-bound on the day as markets await testimony later by US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell.

Powell’s remarks before Congress will be closely scrutinised as investors seek to gauge the scope and pace of future Fed policy, the major factor determining current market sentiment.

Foreign exchange markets have been remarkably quiet in the early part of the week as investors awaited Powell’s testimony, said Standard Bank currency trader Warrick Butler.

“It is seriously like people have forgotten the asset class exists, and equities and bitcoin are the beneficiaries,” he said.

At 8.45am the rand was 0.19% weaker at R14.208/$, 0.14% softer at R17.6961/€ and 0.28% down at R15.9385/£. The euro was flat at $1.1217.

Powell’s testimony begins at 4pm SA time, while US Fed minutes from its last meeting are due at 8pm.