Rand mostly recovers from public protector’s damaging remarks
The rand was slightly weaker against the major currencies on Tuesday before midday, following Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s remarks that the Reserve Bank needed to change its mandate.
The local currency shed up to 2% on Monday after Mkhwebane said the Bank must change its mandate from protecting the value of the rand to improving SA’s socioeconomic conditions.
The Bank said that the remedial action prescribed by the public protector fell outside her powers and was unlawful.
Rand Merchant Bank analyst John Cairns said it was not expected that Mkhwebane’s recommendation would cause a further major fall-out in the rand on Tuesday, but trade was "likely to remain jittery" while there were also continued pressures from a stronger dollar.
The dollar gained on the euro following the increase in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve last week, but was slightly weaker on Tuesday in midday trade.
The Reserve Bank reported on Wednesday that SA’s a current account deficit had widened slightly in the first quarter‚ to 2.1% of GDP from 1.7% in the last quarter of 2016. The current account deficit amounted to R92bn.
Standard Bank trader Warrick Butler said the current account data highlighted the poor fundamentals of the country.
At 11.31am‚ the rand was at R13.0296 to the dollar‚ from R12.9891. It was at R14.5386 to the euro from R14.4869 and at R16.5381 to the pound from R16.5452.
The euro was at $1.1158 from $1.1149.