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Africa, Forex

S.African rand weakens on bets U.S. data will bolster Fed hike case

(Updates to reflect afternoon trade)

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 10 (Reuters) – The South African rand weakened on Monday as the dollar strengthened on bets that U.S. inflation data later this week will bolster the argument for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.

At 1500 GMT, the rand traded at 15.7200 against the dollar, down around 1% on its previous close.

U.S. inflation figures are due on Wednesday, with headline consumer inflation seen climbing to a red-hot 7% year on year, making a case for interest rates to rise sooner rather than later.

The dollar gained 0.5% against a basket of currencies.

South Africa’s economic data calendar is fairly light this week, so the rand is largely expected to track global markets. Domestic manufacturing data for November, due on Tuesday, could give the best insight into the state of Africa’s most industrialised economy.

Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange slipped later in the day after a strong start.

A tightening of monetary policy by the Fed, likely to start from March, would mean an end to an era of ‘easy money’ that has found its way to emerging market stocks, taking them to record highs last year.

The benchmark all-share index dropped marginally by 0.15% to end at 73,830 points and the blue-chip index of top 40 companies was down 0.2% to 67,114 points.

The government’s benchmark 2030 bond also fell, with the yield rising 8 basis points to 9.485%. (Reporting by Alexander Winning and Promit Mukherjee; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Andrew Heavens)


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