South African rand falls as domestic data disappoints

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -The South African rand slipped on Wednesday after data showed the country’s private sector credit grew slower than expected and the budget deficit widened.

At 1612 GMT, the rand traded at 18.6450 against the dollar, nearly 1% weaker than its previous close.

Central bank data showed private sector credit grew 5.87% year-on-year in July, down from 6.25% in June and slower than the 6.21% growth expected by analysts polled by Reuters.

Meanwhile, figures released by the National Treasury showed that South Africa recorded a budget deficit of 143.76 billion rand ($7.75 billion) in July, compared with analysts’ expectation of a deficit of 123.7 billion rand.

The rand has been highly volatile since last week’s Jackson Hole Symposium of global central bankers, where Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. central bank may need to raise interest rates further.

On the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the blue-chip Top-40 index closed 0.61% higher. South Africa’s benchmark 2030 government bond was weaker, the yield up 4 basis points at 10.205%.

(Reporting by Tannur Anders and Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Alexander Winning and Alex Richardson)