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Rand retreats ahead of inflation data

Feb 17 2016 09:31

Johannesburg - The rand retreated on Wednesday ahead of a slew of local and offshore data, including consumer inflation figures expected to shed light on the Reserve Bank's next interest rate move.

Stocks were set to open slightly higher at 09:00, with the JSE's Top 40 futures index up 0.3%.

By 08:45 the rand had weakened 0.16% to R15.8145/$ as global risk sentiment soured with the recent rally in oil prices fizzling out, turning investors off riskier, commodity-linked assets.

As a result traders see the rand moving further away from technical resistance around 15.75 after gaining more than 3% against the dollar in the past two weeks.

Bonds tracked the weaker currency, with the benchmark issue due in 2026 adding 1 basis point to 9.175%.

Consumer inflation data due at 10:00 is set to draw market attention early on in the session as the headline figure approaches the central bank's upper target of 6%.

"If inflation is lower than expectations and it looks like we may have peaked, then investors should flood back into our high yielding assets," said currency trader at Standard Bank Warrick Butler.

Statistics South Africa also publishes December retail sales figures in the session before attention shifts offshore to housing and industrial production data from the United States, as well as minutes of the Federal Reserve's January policy meeting.

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