Rand flat before trade figures


The rand was little changed early on Tuesday ahead of the publication of trade figures later in the day.

At 09:34, the rand traded at R17.44 against the dollar.

December trade numbers are due around 1200 GMT. Analysts polled by Reuters predict a narrower surplus of R5.50 billion compared with R7.98 billion in November.

The rand fell more than 1% against the dollar on Monday, as analysts turned increasingly downbeat about South Africa’s economic prospects because of crippling power cuts.

Last week the central bank slashed its growth forecasts for 2023 and 2024 to 0.3% and 0.7%, from 1.1% and 1.4% respectively, saying power outages could wipe as much as 2 percentage points off economic growth this year.

Investec economists said this week they now expect the South African economy to grow 0.6% this year, down from the 1.1% forecast at the turn of the year.

There have been power outages every day in 2023, following a record number of days with outages last year.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa cancelled a planned appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos this month to try to address the crisis. He is expected to announce new interventions to boost power supply when he delivers a state of the nation address on February 9.

On the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the All-share index was down about 0.8% in early trade on Tuesday.

The government’s benchmark 2030 bond was slightly weaker, with the yield up 1 basis point to 9.700%.

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