Rand chokes again as dollar regains allure

15 May 2018 - 11:04 By Andries Mahlangu
Image: Russell Roberts

The rand wilted on Tuesday morning as the narrative of rising US government bond yields and a strong dollar played out again‚ bringing pressure to bear on other currencies.

Over the past 24 hours‚ the local currency has shed about 20c against the dollar‚ as the yield on the benchmark US 10-year paper crossed the psychological 3% level‚ boosting the value of the dollar.

But ETM Analytics market analyst Halen Bothma said the resultant weakness in emerging-market currencies did not necessarily represent the start of a trend reversal‚ and was more a function of correction.

“For the most part‚ the environment for emerging markets is still favourable‚ with real interest rates still higher compared to other developed economies.”

Foreigners sold a net R13-billion worth of local bonds over the past week‚ according to the JSE’s weekly statistics data.

The weaker rand has the potential to breed inflation‚ though exporters tend to benefit from its weakness.

Markets were also keeping a close watch on oil prices‚ which touched a three-and-half-year high late on Monday‚ feeding into high inflation expectations.

The volatility in global markets and its effect on the rand will most likely be highlighted when the South African Reserve Bank delivers its interest-rate decision next week.

Questions remain as to whether the US Federal Reserve will be as aggressive in its rate-hiking cycle as some had previously suggested‚ following the release of underwhelming US inflation data last week.

At 9.03am‚ the rand was at R12.4123 to the dollar from R12.3287‚ R14.8027 to the euro from R14.7045 and at R16.7921 to the pound from R16.7127.

The euro was at $1.1926‚ from $1.1927.