Rand on track for best week since January

05 April 2019 - 15:49 By Karl Gernetzky

The rand was set to post its best week since the beginning of January on Friday afternoon, after it escaped a widely expected negative review from Moody’s Investors Service.

At 2.35pm the rand was 0.54% stronger at R14.0456/$, pushing its gains since March 29 to 3.12%. It was 0.47% up to R15.7744/€ and 0.62% higher at R18.3493/£. The euro was flat at $1.1231.

Global markets have also been favourable, with progress reported in the US-China trade talks, while Chinese data has also beaten expectations.

Gains in the rand on Friday came as a US jobs report showed that wage growth in the world’s biggest economy was weaker than forecast in March, supporting the argument for the US Federal Reserve to refrain from hiking interest rates anytime soon. US employers added 196,000 new jobs, the country's labour department said.

Trading Economics had forecast 180,000 new jobs.

Along with the boost from Moody’s decision last Friday not to issue a review on SA’s debt, which is one rung above junk status, the currency was also supported by Eskom’s assurance that electricity supply disruptions would be limited during the winter months, Rand Merchant Bank analyst Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana said.

Domestic focus is now expected to shift increasingly to the looming general election on May 8.

“Electioneering is in full swing ahead of the May 8 poll, with political parties vying for votes in a less than ideal macroeconomic environment, characterised by high levels of joblessness and low levels of productivity growth,” Ramkhelawan-Bhana said.