Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The rand was firmer against the dollar on Wednesday morning ahead of the US Federal Reserve's interest-rate decision, amid speculation that the Fed will cut the rate for the first time in more than a decade. 

Markets have priced in 25 basis-point cut at today's Fed meeting; however, the focus will be on whether the Fed will ease monetary policy any further in the coming months. 

“There could be some volatility in the rand and other emerging-market currencies if the tone of the Fed is of fewer rate cuts than expected. The US economy is not faring that badly at the moment and it will not come as a surprise if the Fed future notion is one of resilience,” TreasuryONE  senior currency dealer Andre Botha said in a note. 

At 10am the rand had firmed 0.21% to R14.1794/$ and 0.23% to R15.8144/€, while it was flat at R17.2535/£. The euro was little changed at $1.1152 

Gold was flat at $1,430.52%/oz while platinum had gained 0.68% to $65.08 a barrel. 

Markets are closely watching the US-China trade negotiations after US and Chinese officials met in Shanghai this week. US President Donald Trump further dampened expectations that the US and China would soon reach a trade deal after he threatened a “tougher” deal or no deal at all should China not co-operate. 

The SA Revenue Service is scheduled to release balance of trade figures for June later on Wednesday. 

mjoo@businesslive.co.za