JOHANNESBURG, March 15 (Reuters) – The South African rand was stable in early trade on Wednesday, ahead of the release of retail sales figures later in the day that will give an insight into consumer demand in Africa’s most industrialised economy.
At 0632 GMT, the rand traded at 18.1325 against the dollar, little changed from its previous close of 18.1200.
Statistics South Africa will publish January retail sales (ZARET=ECI) numbers at 1100 GMT.
Analysts polled by Reuters are predicting a 2.0% contraction in annual terms in January, after a 0.6% decline in December.
South Africa’s economic growth outlook is bleak this year, with crippling power cuts seen hurting businesses of all sizes and keeping inflation high.
On Tuesday, Stats SA data showed mining output (ZAMNG=ECI) contracted 1.9% in January, while manufacturing (ZAMAN=ECI) fell 3.7%.
The country’s benchmark 2030 government bond slipped in early deals, with the yield up 2.5 basis points at 10.040%.
Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Rashmi Aich
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