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Rand weakens as investors brace for US inflation data

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South Africa’s rand weakened against a strong dollar on Wednesday as traders braced for U.S. consumer price inflation data, which is expected to spur further Federal Reserve rate hikes.

At 21:38, the rand traded at 18.3053 against the dollar, 1.23% weaker than its previous close.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, fell slightly to 113.23, after earlier touching its highest since Sept. 29 at 113.59.

“The rand remains vulnerable over the near term, notwithstanding how much risk is already priced in at current levels,” economists at ETM Analytics wrote in a note.

Analysts have said emerging market currencies such as the rand are likely to remain volatile until there are more signs of a potential Fed pivot, improving economic conditions in China or de-escalation of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

U.S. inflation data due on Thursday is forecast to come in at a hot 8.1% year on year in September.

Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange fell slightly, mirroring a drop in global equities amid fears of an economic slowdown.

Overall on the JSE, the Top-40 index closed 0.05% lower, and the broader all-share was down 0.09%.

The government’s benchmark 2030 bond fell, with the yield up 9 basis points at 10.830%.

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