THE rand was weaker at midday on Wednesday after Statistics SA said consumer inflation had spiked in December, although it was in line with expectations.

Consumer inflation rose to 5.2% year on year in December, from 4.8% in November, Stats SA’s data showed on Wednesday.

Inflation was up 0.3% month on month in December.

The 5.2% increase in the consumer price index (CPI), which was at the quickest pace of acceleration in a year, reflected higher food, petrol and household-services costs.

Emerging-market currencies were also on the back foot as the continuing slide in the oil price rattled global markets.

At 11.31am the rand was at R16.8524 against the dollar from R16.7847 previously. It weakened to R16.96/$ in early morning trade.

Against the euro, the rand was at R18.4232 from R18.3070 previously. It was at R23.8351 against the pound from R23.7628.

The euro was at $1.0932 from a previous $1.0907.

Investec chief economist Annabel Bishop said consumer inflation averaged an annual 4.6% in 2015. "CPI is likely to rise to 6.1% in the first quarter of 2016 as rand weakness (cancels) the effect of low oil prices."

She said the rand had also weakened due to portfolio outflows, along with other emerging-market currencies. She expected higher interest rates in SA for the year.