Rand flat ahead of economic growth numbers


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South Africa’s rand was largely unchanged on Tuesday ahead of domestic growth figures set to show the economy expanded more than one percent in the final quarter of 2017.

At 06 40 the rand was 0.04 percent firmer at 11.8250 per dollar, a session after rising further from the crucial 12.00/$ mark eyed by traders as a technical turning point.

The unit tumbled more than three percent last week to a two-week trough with demand for emerging market currencies dimmed by increasing signs of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and President Donald Trump’s tariff plan on steel.

But on Monday the EM currencies found relief after senior members of Trump’s party advised him against imposing tariffs on steel and aluminium.

Locally, gross domestic product figures for the final quarter of 2017 are due at 0930 GMT. A Reuters poll of economists sees quarter-on-quarter growth at 1.8 percent after contracting in the first quarter of that year.

Newly reappointed Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said on Monday he expected to revise upwards Treasury’s 2018 growth forecast of 1.5 percent by October due to significantly improved business confidence.

Stocks were set to open higher at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 futures index up 1 percent.

Focus will be on Tiger Brands after its shares fell sharply on Monday when its products were linked to a listeria outbreak.





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