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Monday, 18th March 2019
5:42:09pm

South Africa’s rand opened marginally firmer on Wednesday with investors treading water and awaiting developments in the Brexit saga and the U.S. central bank’s decision on lending rates.

At 0645 GMT the rand was 0.06 percent firmer at 19.5925 per dollar from a close of 13.60 overnight in New York.

The Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting ends later on Wednesday, and investors widely expect the bank to hold rates unchanged after recent comments from officials signalled a slower pace of rate increases this year.

A dovish Fed, as well as political uncertainty and signs the world’s no. 1 economy is slowing, have spurred demand for emerging market assets this month and has seen the rand outperform its peers - bar the Russian rouble.

A decision overnight by British lawmakers to reject a proposal to allow parliament a path to prevent a hard exit from the European Union hurt sterling and triggered a risk rally in Asia.

Data from South Africa’s central bank on Wednesday showed credit demand and money supply slowed in December, further signs of subdued consumer activity. 

Bonds started firmer, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 down 1 basis point to 8.75 percent.

Stocks are set to open slightly lower at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 futures index falling 0.14 percent.

-Reuters

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