South African rand gains after US inflation data

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -South Africa’s rand strengthened on Wednesday after the release of U.S. inflation data that could give the Federal Reserve a cushion to keep interest rates on hold at its meeting next week.

At 1619 GMT, the rand traded at 18.7925 against the dollar, 0.62% stronger than its previous close.

The dollar index was last up around 0.05% against a basket of currencies.

The U.S. central bank is largely expected to hold rates steady at its policy announcement next week at the conclusion of its Sept. 19-20 meeting.

Like most other emerging market currencies, the risk-sensitive rand tends to take cues from global economic drivers such as U.S. monetary policy in the absence of local data points.

Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange fell, with the blue-chip Top-40 index ending 1.11% lower.

South Africa’s benchmark 2030 government bond slipped, with the yield up 5 basis points to 10.405%.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya and Anait Miridzhanian; editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Mark Heinrich)