Rand gains ahead of Sarb's rates decision

Johannesburg - The rand reversed earlier losses against the dollar on Tuesday, finding some reprieve as investors held their breath ahead of the South African Reserve Bank's (Sarb's) interest rates decision after the unit slid over 1% in the previous session.

Stocks opened lower on the Top 40 index, which was down 0.48% by 09:03.

At 09:00, the rand had reversed some losses, edging 0.3% firmer to R13.4280/$, inching away from the 13.4950 one-week trough it touched overnight in New York.

The dollar had firmed during the previous session after comments from United States Federal Reserve officials pointed to the bank resuming policy tightening by year-end after leaving interest rates on hold last week.

Sarb's decision on interest rates is due on Wednesday.

A Reuters poll showed 28 of 31 economists expecting the repo rate to remain steady at 6.00%.

Statistics SA publishes consumer and producer inflation data ahead of the rate decision.

"The monetary policy announcement tomorrow could give investors some clues as to how Sarb is going to react to US Fed movements in next few months," analysts at NKC African Economics said.

In the past two weeks the rand has struggled to hold on to gains past the 13.25 resistance, leaving it open to a retreat beyond 13.50.

"The expectation is for an initial pullback towards 13.3500 with 13.4000 first stop, this should be used to load up on some cheap dollars," said Maemo Rametse of Standard Bank.

Yields on government bonds inched lower although sentiment towards emerging market assets remained subdued by concerns over global growth. The benchmark 2026 issue had shed 0.5 basis points to 8.355% in early trade.

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