South African rand weakens in thin trade ahead of local economic releases

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand slipped in thin trading on Thursday with no market-moving news expected locally ahead of several economic data releases on Friday.

At 1002 GMT, the rand traded at 18.5550 against the dollar, over 0.8% lower than its previous close.

“Volumes remain low and liquidity is very thin,” said Andre Cilliers, currency strategist at TreasuryONE.

On the last trading day of the year, South African investors will turn their focus towards monthly money supply, budget and trade balance figures for clues on the health of the economy.

On the stock market, the Top-40 and the broader all-share indices were up about 0.1%.

The dollar index languished near a five-month low and was last down 0.21% at 100.68 against a basket of currencies as markets continued to bet on an interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve as early as March.

South Africa’s benchmark 2030 government bond was marginally stronger, with the yield down 1 basis point at 9.725%.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)