Johannesburg – The rand was softer at noon on
the back of dollar strength‚ with all eyes on the US Federal Reserve’s
Ben Bernanke’s speech on Tuesday‚ with possible quantitative easing news
expected‚ as well as a local interest rate announcement on Thursday.
At 12:08 the rand was bid at R8.2720 to the dollar from its
previous close of R8.2551. It was bid at R10.0727 to the euro from its
previous close of R10.1204 and at R12.8331 against sterling from
The euro was bid at $1.2185 from its previous close of $1.2249.
“Ben Bernanke’s testimony will be to the Senate and Congress and
any disappointment on this front would likely have a negative impact on
global risk appetite and thus the rand‚” said Bruce Donald‚ rand
strategist at Standard Bank.
“The market is not expecting a local rate cut this week; the FRAs
are pricing in only a 25% chance of a 50 basis points cut. However‚ the
FRAs are discounting an 80% chance of a 50 basis points cut within six
months‚ which means that a more dovish tilt in the Bank’s rhetoric is
probably priced in and thus the impact of such an outcome on local
markets and the rand should be contained‚” he said.
SA has a busy data calendar this week and lots of secondary data from the US as well as data due out in Europe.
“Today’s US retail sales number is the most important. Wall Street
is in focus as we enter the heart of the corporate earnings calendar.
Friday’s Wall Street surge‚ which broke a six-day losing streak‚ came
partly due to better than expected earnings‚” Rand Merchant Bank said.
“In Europe there will be a German parliamentary vote on the Spanish
bank bailout. This should be passed with no problem‚ the bank said.
Eurozone finance ministers will meet again on Friday to try to finalise
the details of the bailout. Domestically‚ we have inflation and retails
sales data this week‚ with all eyes on Thursday’s MPC meeting‚” the bank