Rand a little softer as consumer confidence drops
The rand was slightly weaker against major global currencies on Wednesday afternoon, after disappointing local consumer confidence data once again underscored the parlous nature of SA’s economic recovery.
The FNB-sponsored quarterly poll done by the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) found the third-quarter’s consumer confidence index fell to seven points from 22 points — far lower than the economists’ consensus of 17 points.
The deterioration in consumer sentiment during the third quarter of 2018 could mainly be ascribed to substantial drops in the economic outlook and household financial prospects sub-indices of the index, FNB said, where the indices plunged by 24 and 18 points respectively.
The rand was firmer earlier, but by 2pm it was 0.32% weaker against the dollar at R13.9714, 0.23% against the euro at R15.7613 and 0.82% against the pound at R17.8851. The euro was flat at $1.1282.
Global focus remains on the US-China trade war, with investors mulling the likelihood of US President Donald Trump and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping making progress when they meet this weekend.
At 7pm local time, markets will also be watching a speech from US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell. The dollar gained some ground in evening trade on Tuesday after US Fed vice-chair Richard Clarida said the central bank would back further interest-rate increases.