Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The rand was firmer on Wednesday morning as focus locally shifts to business confidence data.

The market will be watching the Rand Merchant Bank and Stellenbosch University’s Bureau for Economic Research’s   business confidence index (BCI) for the fourth quarter, later in the day. The indicator hit its lowest level in 20 years in the previous period.

Global market sentiment continues to be driven by news about the US-China trade war and negotiations. US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the two countries are close to concluding phase one of the trade deal.

At 10.20am, the rand had firmed 0.13% to R14.7799/$ after closing at R14.79/$ on Wednesday. It had strengthened 0.25% to R16.273/€ and 0.32% to R18.9812/£. The euro had weakened 0.11% to $1.101. 

The R186 government bond was stronger with the yield falling five basis points to 8.425%. Bond yields move inversely to bond prices.

“Looking ahead, expect thinned-out conditions to prevail with local yields continuing to trade nervously ahead of the February budget. Short-term moves will be influenced by the ebb and flow of trade-related headlines,” Sasfin fixed-income trader Alvin Chawasema said.

Gold was down 0.16% to $1,459.024/oz and platinum 0.27% to $904.04. Brent crude was up 1.48% to $63.18 a barrel.