The rand was little changed against hard currencies shortly before midday yesterday, with cautious trade expected to continue ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s federal open market committee’s interest-rate decision, later in the day.
The Fed is expected to increase interest rates by 25 basis points to 1,25 percent. Analysts expect circumspect trading ahead of the announcement — which takes place after the JSE closes — despite expected economic data releases on Wednesday afternoon.
Market pricing going into the event was 99,6 percent for an increase, but barely 50 percent for another by December, Rand Merchant Bank analyst John Cairns said.
“The devil will be in the statement after the fact,” TreasuryOne currency dealer Andre Botha said.
Statistics SA retail trade data for April is expected at 1pm local time, while earlier the RMB/BER business confidence index (BCI) showed that business confidence in the second quarter of 2017 plummeted by 11 points to 29.
A score below 50 indicates contraction. All five sectors covered in the survey — manufacturing, retail trade, wholesale trade, motor trade and the building sector — were below this level, RMB said.
US consumer price index and retail sales data for May are expected later on Wednesday.
At 11.30am the rand was at 12,7623 to the dollar from Tuesday’s 12,7572, at R14.3084 to the euro from 14,2962 and 16,2561 to the pound from 16,2693. The euro was at $1,1209 from $1,1207. – BusinessLive