South African rand gains ahead of September inflation data

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The South African rand was stronger in early trade on Wednesday, buoyed by a weaker dollar, ahead of September consumer inflation data that could give hints for the central bank’s future interest rate path.

At 0701 GMT, the rand traded at 18.7675 against the dollar , about 0.2% stronger than its previous close.

The dollar last traded more than 0.1% weaker against a basket of global currencies.

Local investors are focused on South Africa’s September consumer inflation figures due at 0800 GMT (ZACPIY=ECI).

Analysts polled by Reuters predict inflation of 5.3% in September, still within the central bank’s target range of 3% to 6%, but above its desired midpoint of that range.

“The SA inflation release this morning is key for the rates markets, not so much the rand,” said Rand Merchant Bank analysts in a morning briefing, adding that the South African Reserve Bank’s October Monetary Policy Review’s interest rate stance remained hawkish.

Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange opened lower, with the blue-chip Top-40 index (.JTOPI) down about 0.14%.

South Africa’s benchmark 2030 government bond was weaker in early deals, the yield up 3.5 basis points at 10.795%.