South Africa's rand slipped early on Wednesday, as focus in the absence of local economic data shifted towards a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for clues on the timing of potential interest rate cuts.

At 0821 GMT, the rand traded at 18.8425 against the dollar , 0.4% weaker than its previous close.

The dollar index was broadly steady against a basket of currencies.

Investors will be closely watching Powell's speech later on Wednesday for clues on his stance on the interest rate landscape.

South Africa has no major domestic economic releases due until Thursday when S&P Global will release its whole-economy purchasing managers' index survey, shedding light on business conditions in Africa's most industrialised economy.

On the stock market, the Top-40 and the broader all-share indices were both 0.6% lower in early trade.

South Africa's benchmark 2030 government bond was marginally stronger in early deals, with the yield down 0.5 basis point to 10.625%. (Reporting by Bhargav Acharya Editing by Ros Russell)