* Rand gains in late afternoon trade
* Poor U.S. retail sales provide hope for QE3
JOHANNESBURG, July 16 (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand firmed
against the dollar on Monday and bond yields fell to record lows
ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s congressional
testimony this week, which investors hoping will hint at another
round of U.S. stimulus.
The rand firmed half a percent to 8.2107 against
the dollar at 1544 GMT, from Friday’s New York close of 8.2625
“Looking at the week ahead, there is likely to be some
follow through of this positive sentiment,” said ETM Analytics
in a client note.
“Fed Chairman Ben Bernake’s bi-annual report back session to
Congress on Tuesday where he may hint at further QE
(quantitative easing) and there is no reason to turn overly
bearish in the short term.”
The rand also found some support after a poor U.S. retail
sales report offered investors more hope for potential stimulus
to the world’s biggest economy.
The data showed that retail sales in the world’s largest
economy fell for the third straight month in June as demand
slumped for everything from cars and electronics to building
materials, a sign the economic recovery is
Government bonds picked up from where they left off last
week with yields falling to record lows.