JOHANNESBURG, March 13 – South Africa’s rand firmed against the dollar early on Monday, extending gains from Friday after weaker-than-expected U.S. wages data dampened expectations of a spate of interest rate increases this year by the Federal Reserve.
* At 0645 GMT, the rand traded at 13.1100 per dollar, 0.57 percent firmer from its New York close on Friday.
* Investors were cautious ahead of the Fed rates decision as well as a potentially divisive election in the Netherlands and a Group of 20 (G20) finance ministers’ meeting.
* With a Fed rate increase so broadly priced in to market expectations, investors have moved on to the next question of whether the Fed will be able to sustain its pace of hikes and also increase rates in its June and September meetings.
* Locally, focus on mining, manufacturing and retail sales data due out in the week.
* Stocks were set to open higher at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 futures index up 0.21 percent.
* In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was flat at 8.69 percent.