The rand was steady just above the R8.90 level against the US dollar in dull midday trade on Wednesday.
Dealers said there was nothing to move the market until the release of the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) March meeting minutes this evening.
“We have been range bound this morning. The market is waiting for the FOMC minutes‚” a local foreign exchange trader said.
At 11.50am‚ the rand was bid at R8.9241 to the US dollar from R8.9153 at Tuesday’s close and R8.9820 at Monday’s close.
The local currency was bid at R11.6821 to the euro from its previous close of R11.6614 and at R13.6719 against sterling from R13.6543 before.
The euro was bid at $1.3099 from $1.3082 at Tuesday’s close and $1.3018 at Monday’s close.
Dow Jones Newswires reported that European financial markets started Wednesday with a mildly positive tone following unexpectedly good French production data that helped the euro to a fresh one-month high against the dollar‚ while an upbeat close to trading in Asia and the US aided stocks.
Equity markets were higher‚ as were oil and gold prices‚ and the euro was up against the dollar after France's industrial production increased by 0.7 percent in February from the previous month‚ versus expectations for just a 0.4 percent increase. January's figure for industrial output was revised to a decline of 0.8 percent from a decline of 1.2 percent.
In other economic data‚ China posted a surprise $880 million trade deficit for March. Economists had expected a $14.7 billion surplus. But imports were higher than forecast.
The release of the Federal Open Market Committee's March meeting minutes later in the day will also be of interest as investors look for signs on when the Federal Reserve will deviate from its current easing policy. Although many US lawmakers have called for the Fed's stimulus programme of quantitative easing to be scaled back‚ last week's disappointing nonfarm payrolls report could advance the debate on the stimulus measures.
Bonds remain firm despite consolidation
South African bonds were firm at noon on Wednesday as continued foreign demand underpinned the market.
At 12.04pm the benchmark R186 was trading at 7.015 percent from 7.020 percent at Tuesday’s close and 6.985 percent at Monday’s close. The R157 was bid at 5.300 percent and offered at 5.280 percent from 5.305 percent at its previous close‚ and the R207 was bid at 6.100 percent and offered at 6.070 percent from 6.100 percent at its previous close.
The rand was bid at R8.9299 to the US dollar from R8.9153 at Tuesday’s close and R8.9820 at Monday’s close.