The rand retreated slightly against the dollar on Wednesday, although traders did not expect it to break out of current ranges ahead of the release of US Federal Reserve minutes.
Domestic consumer inflation data set to be released at 10:00 was unlikely to impact the currency much, with economists polled by Reuters expecting the year-on-year rate to have stayed unchanged at 5.9% in October.
This would be within the South African Reserve Bank’s (Sarb) 3% to 6% target band, backing the case for policy makers to keep the benchmark repo rate stable at 5.75% on Thursday, when Sarb’s three-day policy meeting concludes.
At 08:40 the rand stood at R11.0500 to the dollar, just 0.17% softer than its close on Tuesday in New York.
With domestic interest rates likely to be anchored at 5.75% into the into the new year, Federal Open Market Committee minutes due later on Wednesday are most likely to give the market direction in the session, Standard Bank trader Inshaan Omar said.
“This will be keenly watched for clues of when the US will commence with its hiking cycle,” Standard Bank’s Omar said in a note.
Government bonds were also mostly flat, with the yield for the benchmark government bond maturing in 2026 dipping just 1 basis point to 7.81%.