The rand was weaker against major global currencies in volatile trade on Monday just before midday, driven by sentiment emanating from the ANC conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg.

The market is closely watching the outcome of the conference where ANC MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa are contesting the party’s leadership.

Just before midday vote counting had already taken place, with results expected before the end of the day.

The rand traded within a 20c range, strengthening to an intraday best level of about R12.96 to the dollar.

The rand gained about 15c against the dollar on Friday afternoon, before the conference commenced, on reports that court rulings on the eligibility of certain delegates to vote had gone against Dlamini-Zuma.

On Monday morning, reports from the conference were that the leadership contest between Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma was tight, with talk being that Ramaphosa had fewer numbers than expected.

Analysts expect that should Ramaphosa win the party leadership race, the rand could strengthen to levels seen before the Cabinet reshuffle late in March‚ when Pravin Gordhan was fired as finance minister, while the alternative could see the currency weaken beyond R14 to the dollar.

At 11.30am‚ the rand was at R13.0496 to the dollar from R12.9651‚ at R15.3897 to the euro from R15.2362, and at R17.4215 to the pound from R17.2759.

The euro was at $1.1792 from $1.1745.

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