Photo illustration of South African bank notes displayed next to the American dollar notes in Johannesburg

South Africa's rand steadies as oil crisis fears ease

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's rand steadied early Wednesday as fears of an oil price spike eased after Saudi Arabia's energy minister said the kingdom would restore lost oil production by the end of the month.

At 0630 GMT the rand was 0.09% firmer, after two consecutive sessions of losses as a spike in global oil prices and fears tensions in the Middle East would further dampen local business conditions pushed the currency to a 2-week low.

Brent crude oil futures fell 15 cents, or 0.2%, to $64.40 a barrel by 0253 GMT, after tumbling 6.5% the previous session.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Tuesday average oil production in September and October would be 9.89 million barrels per day, and that the world's top oil exporter would ensure full oil supply commitments to its customers this month.

Expectations that the U.S Federal Reserve will lower lending rates on Wednesday also boosted risk sentiment.

Local inflation figures for August are due at 0800 GMT, with a Reuters survey of economists predicting a slight uptick in year-on-year price growth to 4.2% from 4% in the previous month. Retail sales figures follow at 1100 GMT.

Bonds also firmed, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 down 3.5 basis points to 8.225%.

(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

2019-09-18 09:30:34

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