File Picture: REUTERS
File Picture: REUTERS

The rand was firmer on Thursday morning notwithstanding trade war jitters, while focus shifts to local manufacturing production data and business confidence.

“Currency, equity and commodity markets are all moving sideways at the moment as the signing of the trade deal looks like it could be delayed. Traders are in a cautious mode in the absence of any certainty of market direction,” TreasuryOne senior currency dealer Andre Botha said.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that the signing of the partial trade deal between the US and China could be scheduled for December, despite expectations that the deal would be concluded in November.

At 10am, the rand had strengthened 0.19% to R14.78 after closing at R14.81 on Wednesday. It had firmed 0.15% to R16.3691/$ and 0.24% to R18.9996/€. The euro was flat at $1.1073.

Gold was down 0.22% to $1,486.94/oz while platinum added 0.29% to $931.13 Brent crude was up 0.58% to $62.12 a barrel.  

Locally, Statistics SA is expected to release manufacturing production for September later on Thursday. The median forecast is for manufacturing to have contracted for the fourth consecutive month, according to Bloomberg.

The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) is set to release the business confidence index for October. The median forecast according to Bloomberg is for the BCI to have fallen to 92 points from 92.4 in the previous month.