Rand softer, platinum miners boost JSE
THE RAND retreated yesterday despite better-than-anticipated inflation and retail figures, as some investors booked recent profits ahead of an interest rate decision today.
At 5pm, the rand was bid at R12.9383 to the dollar, 1.05c softer than at the same time on Tuesday, down from a close of R12.8925 previously and after gaining in five consecutive previous sessions.
Local data showed consumer inflation at its lowest in 19 months (5.1 percent) and well below the Reserve Bank’s upper target of 6 percent, prompting some investors to price-in a higher probability of a rate cut.
The bank has hiked rates by 200 basis points since 2014 but over the last 12 months has kept them on hold at 7 percent, saying its tightening cycle had come end.
Analyst at Credit Suisse, Carlos Teixeira, said falling inflation and the resilient currency justified a rate cut.
“There is sufficient cushion in the forecast profile for inflation to withstand some renewed currency weakness, which would not be triggered by a cut of 50 basis points,” Teixeira said.
Meanwhile, stocks firmed as platinum miners lifted the bourse.
The benchmark JSE Top40 index gained 1.75 percent to 47 748.68 points, while the wider all share index ended 1.56 percent higher at 54 091.11 points.
Lonmin extended gains made on Monday after it cut costs and announced improved mining performance in the third quarter. The platinum producer’s shares climbed 10.21 percent to R15.98, also lifted by a higher platinum price.
The retail index was up 1.63 percent following the release of positive retail sales data for May.