19 Jul

South Africa’s rand weakens ahead of CPI, retail data

South Africa‘s rand weakened against the U.S. dollar early on Wednesday as investors awaited consumer price inflation and retail sales data due later in the day.

* At 0645 GMT, the rand traded at 12.9450 per dollar, 0.41 percent weaker than its overnight close.

* Statistics South Africa is due to release June CPI figures at 0800 GMT and May retail sales numbers at 1100 GMT.

* “A lower CPI print will make the South African Reserve Bank rate decision difficult tomorrow, especially because growth is weak and the exchange rate is also much stronger than at the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting,” Rand Merchant Bank analyst Isaah Mhlanga wrote in a note.

* South Africa’s Reserve Bank is expected to leave interest rates unchanged at 7 percent on Thursday, but economists expect a dovish statement as the central bank gets closer to its easing cycle.

* Stocks were set to open higher at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 futures index up 0.6 percent. (Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Ed Stoddard).

[via Reuters Africa]