Rand firms slightly ahead of Reserve Bank announcement

The rand was marginally stronger against major global currencies shortly before midday on Thursday‚ with focus squarely on the Reserve Bank policy announcement later in the afternoon.

Consensus is for the committee to leave interest rates on hold for now‚ although there seems to be a shift in perceptions due to stronger rand and improved sentiment that some say could lead to a cut in the months ahead.

Focus is also on the ANC national executive committee meeting‚ where the future of Jacob Zuma’s presidency could be discussed.

A recall at this point was unlikely‚ Rand Merchant Bank currency strategist John Cairns said‚ and given that the market got ahead of itself in predicting a recall earlier in January‚ any reaction to Zuma staying put for now was likely to be contained.

Internationally‚ the dollar was bolstered somewhat by news that the US government was likely to avoid a shutdown. Congress must agree to raise the US debt ceiling by Friday.

Republican leaders were close to getting a four-week temporary funding extension for the government ahead of the deadline‚ reported Dow Jones Newswires.

At 11.30am the rand was at R12.239 to the dollar from close of R12.2929‚ at R14.9494 to the euro from R14.9714 and at R16.9309 to the pound from R16.9883.

The euro was at $1.2215‚ from $1.2184.



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