The South African rand fell back in early trade on Wednesday, losing steam after rallying on Tuesday. In the absence of local drivers, analysts said the focus on Wednesday was likely to be on Federal Reserve minutes that could give clues about the U.S. central bank's future interest rate path. Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) said in a morning briefing that the rand's exchange rate against the dollar looked more comfortable after Tuesday's more than 1% gain, which was fuelled by a drop in U.S. Treasury yields and dovish comments from Fed officials.
The South African central bank is poised to keep interest rates high for an extended period due to a surge in the inflation rate, in line with previous forecasts. This decision comes in response to the primary consumer-price index for August, which recorded a 4.8% increase compared to the same period last year, as reported by Statistics South Africa, a Pretoria-based agency on Wednesday.
The South African rand was weaker in early trade on Thursday, ahead of U.S. jobless claims data that could give hints at future interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. The dollar last traded at 102.080 - around 0.06% stronger - against a basket of global currencies. At 1230 GMT, the U.S. Department of Labor will release the country's weekly jobless claims.