Rand firms on consumer inflation surprise

The rand firmed on Wednesday after Stats SA announced that annual consumer inflation for August was marginally lower than analysts had expected. 

The CPI rate (for all urban areas) was 4.9% compared with July's 5.1% print. The consensus was for CPI to accelerate to 5.2%.

The rand was trading at R14.76/$ before the release of the numbers, and firmed to R14.69/$ after CPI was released. It is up 1.43% against the greenback on the day. 

Before the figure was announced, NKC African Economics said the rate was expected to tick up slightly, in part due to recent fuel price increases.

In a snap note, TreasuryONE said the lower rate would ease pressure on the the SA Reserve Bank's Monetary policy Committee to hike rates on Thursday.

In an earlier note TreasuryOne said markets had seemingly priced in the tit-for-tat between the US and China, after China retaliated by imposing tariffs on $60bn worth of US imports, while the US further threatened to place duties on all Chinese goods.

"Both US and Chinese equities are trading stronger despite the latest round of tariffs, perhaps indicating that markets priced in the news," said TreasurOne's Wichard Cilliers.

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