South African rand gains ahead of CPI, BRICS summit next week

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -The South African rand strengthened on Friday, ahead of monthly inflation data and a BRICS summit of emerging economies in Johannesburg next week.

At 1516 GMT, the rand traded at 18.9350 against the dollar, about 0.8% stronger than its Thursday close.

However, the rand is down roughly 6% this month, with Rand Merchant Bank analysts saying local markets were “almost a passenger at the moment,” with global factors holding sway.

The rand fell earlier in the week on mounting concerns over economic growth in its biggest trading partner China.

Investors will be closely watching South Africa’s July inflation figures due on Wednesday for clues on the health of the local economy.

Focus will also be on the leaders of BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa – who meet in an annual summit from Tuesday to Thursday, with discussions on the expansion of the bloc high on the agenda.

Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange fell, with the blue-chip Top-40 index closing over 1.8% lower. The benchmark 2030 government bond was weaker, the yield down 5 basis points to 10.470%.

(Reporting by Tannur Anders and Bhargav AcharyaEditing by Alexander Winning and Aurora Ellis)