‘Rexit’ boosts rand, but rattles markets
The rand is back under R11.80 to the dollar following Tuesday night’s “Rexit” — US President Donald Trump’s firing of his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.
“Mike Pompeo, director of the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency], will become our new secretary of state. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
The rand was trading at R11.78 to the dollar, R14.62 to the euro and R16.49 to the pound at 7am.
Trump made his announcement before US markets closed, causing the Nasdaq index to fall more than 1% and the S&P 500 to fall 0.6%.
The latest upheavals in the White House rattled Asian markets, sending Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index down 1.25%, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index down 0.95%, and Sydney’s ASX 200 down 0.65%.
A likely JSE casualty of Rexit is Naspers, which tends to track its Chinese associate Tencent, which was down 1.34% to H$456.60 on Wednesday morning.
Steinhoff closed 3.4% down at R4.25 on the JSE and 2.66% lower at €0.29 in Frankfurt after announcing the price it received for its KAP shares via its accelerated bookbuild was R8.15 per share — 4% lower than the R8.50 hoped for.
Steinhoff managed to raise R3.67bn by placing 450-million KAP shares, reducing its holding in the industrial holding company to 26% from 43%.