South Africa’s rand weakened slightly early yesterday after some broad emerging-market momentum overnight faded with the dollar remaining close to a two-week high and investor caution ahead of local economic growth data.
At 0630 GMT, the rand was 0,14 percent softer at 14,2200 per dollar, compared to its close of 14,2000 in New York on Monday, with thin overnight volumes keeping the unit in a narrow range as investors awaited fourth-quarter growth data at 0930 GMT.
Africa’s most developed economy grew 1,3 percent in 2017 and saw contractions in the first two quarters of 2018 before bouncing back in the third quarter with a 2,2 percent expansion.
But in the February budget, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni sliced the 2019 growth estimate to just 1,5 percent, with issues at power utility Eskom the biggest threat to the economy after the debt-laden firm resumed nationwide electricity blackouts late in February.
Investor concerns over the state company, and overall economic growth, have seen the rand struggle to shake-off an emerging-market selloff that has abated in other regions, while elections due in May have also kept money on the sidelines.
In equities, Nedbank reported a 14.5 percent rise in full-year headline earnings, driven mostly by its business outside of the country.
Dairy company Clover said first-half profit rose 5 percent, boosted by higher sales volume and an uptick in prices