September 19, 2019 / 7:24 AM / 5 months ago

South African rand flat as central bank seen holding key rate

South African bank notes featuring images of former South African President Nelson Mandela (R) are displayed next to the American dollar notes in this photo illustration in Johannesburg, file. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand was little changed on Thursday, ahead of the central bank’s monetary policy decision later in the day where economists expect it to keep the key rate unchanged.

* The rand was trading at 14.6900 versus the U.S. dollar at 0625 GMT, less than 0.1% stronger than its previous close.

* The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) was seen keeping the repo rate at 6.5% in a decision expected around 1300 GMT, according to the majority of analysts polled by Reuters this month.

* South Africa’s inflation outlook has been relatively benign, with price rises well within the SARB’s 3%-6% target range. But economic growth this year has been sluggish.

* Future rate cuts could hinge on an important credit rating review in November, a Reuters poll found.

* Government bonds dipped slightly in early trade, with the yield on the 2026 bond up 4 basis points to 8.25%.

Reporting by Alexander Winning; editing by Uttaresh.V

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