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Africa, Forex

South Africa’s rand steady before mining data, interest rate decision

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand held steady against the dollar early on Thursday, as investors awaited mining output data for further insight into how the economy performed in the final quarter of last year and an interest rate decision by the central bank.

At 0615 GMT, the rand was flat at 14.4050 per dollar, having firmed in the previous session following better-than-expected November retail sales.

Statistics South Africa will publish November mining production data at 0930 GMT, while the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) monetary policy committee will announce its interest rate decision at a press briefing from 1300 GMT. The central bank kept rates on hold at 6.5% at its last meeting.

“The currency has remained in a tight range as markets await a new catalyst event,” Bianca Botes, treasury partner at Peregrine Treasury Solutions, said.

“The SARB is likely to keep interest rates on hold today, although the tone and any indication of future rate cuts will be monitored closely.”

Economists expect the central bank to avoid a rate cut in the first quarter ahead of the February budget, which is expected to have significant implications for Moody’s decision on the country’s credit rating in March.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond was down 0.5 basis point to 8.255%.

(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

South African Rand coins are seen in this photo illustration

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