South African rand softens in face of dollar strength

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -South Africa’s rand edged lower against a stronger dollar on Wednesday, taking global direction in the absence of local data.

At 1630 GMT, the rand traded at 19.0850 against the dollar, 0.3% weaker than its previous close.

The dollar rose more than 0.1% against a basket of global currencies as investor appetite for riskier currencies faded after lacklustre corporate results, and as Treasury yields rose.

“There are new and meaningful two-way pressures on USD/ZAR, but it seems happy at around or just over the 19.00 level…,” said Rand Merchant Bank analysts in a morning briefing.

On Thursday, the investor focus will turn to producer price inflation figures, which could give clues on the health of the South African economy.

Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange fell, with the blue-chip Top-40 index closing 0.45% lower.

South Africa’s benchmark 2030 government bond was stronger in late deals, with the yield down 4.5 basis points to 10.630%.

(Reporting by Tannur Anders and Anait Miridzhanian, Editing by Bhargav Acharya, Bernadette Baum and Alexander Smith)