The rand was weaker from steady overnight levels on Thursday morning on a largely unchanged dollar following the US Federal Reserve’s decision to keep interest rates on hold.
“Markets are likely to be cautious ahead of the US jobs data on Friday‚” Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking analysts said.
US nonfarm payroll data is usually closely watched as it is a crucial indicator of the health of the US economy. ADP data‚ a precursor of the nonfarm numbers‚ came in strong on Wednesday.
The market expects the US economy to have created 180‚000 jobs in January from 148‚000 in December.
The Fed left interest rates unchanged‚ as expected. The Federal open market committee said the outlook appeared positive as the US economy continued to improve steadily and hinted at further gradual increases‚ Nedbank analysts said.
The Fed previously indicated it was on track to increase interest rates by three basis points this year‚ but this might change.
At 8.57am the rand was at R11.9019 to the dollar from R11.8424‚ at R14.7501 to the euro from R14.7012 and at R16.8658 to the pound from R16.8087.
The euro was at $1.2394 from $1.2413.
Earlier the rand found some support from positive local trade data for December‚ with the trade surplus widening to R15.72bn from R13.05bn in November‚ marking the 11th consecutive month of surplus.
The R80.55bn surplus for the year was the highest since 2010.
Source: TMG Digital