Bonds weaken ahead of week’s risk events

South African government bonds were slightly softer on Monday morning, tracking a weaker rand, as investors traded cautiously ahead of key events later in the week.

Signals of compromise in trade talks between the US and China have helped soothe investor fears of trade war, but the rand has experienced some headwinds from a stronger greenback, along with its emerging-market peers.

Domestic inflation data on Wednesday is expected to be closely watched, coming a day ahead of Reserve Bank interest-rate decision on Thursday.

Also locally, public servants have struck a wage agreement with the state, averting a possibly damaging and protracted strike. The agreement, however, is slightly above inflation, and expected to put additional pressure on the fiscus.

“With a higher oil price, a weaker rand and an above-inflation pay raise for civil servants, we can expect inflation fears to start building again. This should continue putting pressure on our local bonds,”Rand Merchant Bank bond analyst Michelle Wohlberg said.

At 10.05am, the yield on the R186 bond was at 8.65% from 8.61% and the R207 at 7.48% from 7.39%.

The rand was at R12.8631 to the dollar from R12.7755.

The US 10-year treasury was last seen at 3.0689% from 3.0578%.