South African rand unchanged ahead of US inflation data

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -South Africa’s rand took a breather on Wednesday after declining since the start of the week as traders awaited U.S. inflation data due on Thursday.

At 1539 GMT, the rand traded at 18.7000 against the dollar, unchanged from its previous close.

The dollar was last down around 0.07% against a basket of global currencies.

Investors’ focus this week is the December U.S. inflation reading, which is expected to provide some clarity on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy outlook.

In the absence of local economic data, the rand often takes its cues from global factors such as U.S. monetary policy.

The South African currency has had a lacklustre start to the year, after losing more than 7% against the dollar in 2023.

On the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the blue-chip Top-40 index closed 0.31% lower.

South Africa’s benchmark 2030 government bond was weaker, with the yield up 2 basis points to 9.740%.

(Reporting by Nellie Peyton and Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Tomasz Janowski)