JOHANNESBURG, June 14 South Africa's rand edged
firmer on Wednesday, clinging on to recent gains despite
continued fallout triggered by a Moody's ratings downgrade last
week and an anticipated interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal
* At 0640 GMT, the rand traded 0.2 percent firmer
at 12.7350 per dollar compared to close of 12.7600 overnight in
New York, bringing weekly gains to around 1.3 percent.
* Following a one notch downgrade to its lowest sovereign
investment grade on Friday, Moody's cut the ratings of a dozen
banks and companies including embattled power utility Eskom,
further shaking confidence in Africa's most advanced economy.
* Quarterly business confidence and April retail sales due
in the session are expected to shed more light on ailing
economy. Growth shrunk 0.7 percent in Q1 2017 after a 0.3
percent contraction in Q4 of 2016.
* Traders expect the U.S. central bank to increase interest
rates by a notch when it concludes a policy meeting on Thursday,
a move that could dampen demand for high-yielding emerging
* South African bonds were flat, with the yield on benchmark
2026 government bond inching up 0.5 basis points to at 8.445
* Stocks set to open higher at 0700 GMT, with the JSE
securities exchange's Top-40 futures index up 0.3
(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Ed Cropley)