Rand softens notably with market focus on the US
The rand was notably weaker against major global currencies on Thursday afternoon, losing most to the greenback, as international politics took centre stage.
Much of the market’s focus was on the US, where it is hoped negotiations between Congress and the Senate will be settled soon so the tax bill can be passed. Ongoing political issues centred on US President Donald Trump, including relations with North Korea, and the recent announcement the US would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The end of the year was likely to be dominated by political stories, with central banks not looking to rock the boat and a US Federal Reserve rate hike next week all but priced in, said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam. Any shocks could shake things up in the markets but this was unlikely at this stage, he said.
US nonfarm payrolls data to be released on Friday are the main data release this week, and it will indicate whether another interest-rate increase is in the pipeline before the end of the year.
The rand’s moves will then depend on local politics ahead of the ANC’s national elective conference, starting on December 16. Analysts expect that, barring new political headlines, the would remain on the back foot until the conference starts.
At 3pm‚ the rand was at R13.6397 to the dollar from R13.5051‚ at R16.0645 to the euro from R15.9306‚ and at R18.2382 to the pound from R18.0971.
The euro was at $1.1778 from $1.1796.