Rand a little firmer amid some risk-on sentiment

29 April 2019 - 14:56 By Karl Gernetzky

The rand was firmer on Monday afternoon, outperforming its emerging-market peers and holding on to gains despite mixed global economic data.

At 2pm the rand was 0.26% up at R14.348 to the dollar, 0.23% firmer at R15.9969 to the euro and 0.3% stronger at R18.5334 to the pound.

US GDP data beat expectations on Friday, growing 3.2% in the first quarter of 2019. On Monday Chinese data showed profits at industrial firms grew for the first time in four months, boosting risk assets, said Oanda analyst Dean Popplewell.

However, the rand pared earlier gains and equity markets came under pressure after eurozone confidence numbers came in worse than expected, falling to a two-and-a-half-year low in April.

The week is a busy one in terms of economic news, although local markets are closed on Wednesday for Workers’ Day.

Thinned-out trading activity holds the potential to influence trading behaviour, and as SA heads to the polls next week, and the current week is data heavy, there is no question that investors will be cautious, said Mercato Financial Services analyst Nico du Plessis.

The US Federal Reserve will make its latest stance on monetary policy known on Wednesday, while the Bank of England will make its announcement on Thursday. Friday sees the release of US nonfarm payrolls data.

US-China trade talks resume on Tuesday, while there have also been eye-catching movements in commodity markets recently.

Oil reached a 2019 high last week, but slumped 3.61% on Friday, after US President Donald Trump said he had been speaking to major producers about increasing output, and had received agreement on this.

This has halted a rally by oil — which is up about 32% so far this year. In afternoon trade on Monday afternoon Brent oil was up 0.5% at $71.94 a barrel.