The rand retreated in the immediate aftermath of the statement, before subsequently recouping much of its losses against the dollar.
Local bonds were a fair bit firmer on the day, with the yield on the benchmark R186 government bond dipping below 9% for the first time since late August, according to Iress data.
The stronger rand and local bonds come as international oil prices sink further, helping alleviate local inflation concerns. Brent crude was nearly 2% weaker at $55 a barrel — its lowest in more than a year. The now substantially lower international oil prices could help offset the net effect of a weaker rand environment, thus limiting the scope for the South African Reserve Bank to increase interest rates further.
In November, the Reserve Bank raised its repurchase rate by 25 basis points, to 6.75%, citing the effect of a weaker currency on the inflation outlook, among other factors.
The value of the rand has dropped 14% so far in 2018, due, in part, to higher interest rates in the US which resulted in bond outflows from emerging markets.
Foreigners have sold a net amount of about R63bn worth of local bonds so far in 2018, contributing to sharp rand weakness.
At 3.23pm, the rand was 1.34% stronger against the dollar at R14.1944, 0.69% stronger against the euro at R16.2574, and 0.83% stronger against the pound at R17.9941. The euro was 0.66% stronger against the dollar at $1.1454.