Rand softens marginally despite easing geopolitical fears
The rand gave up earlier gains against major global currencies on Monday afternoon, amid a mixed performance by emerging-market currencies, and despite generally positive sentiment on global markets.
The risk-on tone on world markets follows weaker-than-expected US data last week, which has cast some doubt as to the pace of US Federal Reserve monetary-policy normalisation.
Fears of a full-blown trade war between the US and China have also eased somewhat, after US President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that he had issued instructions to end a ban on US exports to Chinese telecoms giant ZTE.
The instruction comes a month after these sanctions, and as US and Chinese officials continue trade discussions.
"Many policy makers will criticise such a reversal, but from an investor’s perspective, it’s a sign of easing relations between the world’s two largest economies, and should support risk-taking," FXTM chief market strategist Hussein Sayed said.
Global markets were also slightly cheered by news of an easing oil price, after a report showing oil cartel Opec’s production lifted more than expected in April, and that US drilling activity was accelerating.
Focus now turns to economic data releases, notably US retail sales numbers on Tuesday, and South African retails sales data on Wednesday.
Continuing public-sector wage talks remain a threat to the fiscus, with government and union negotiators meeting on Monday.
At 3pm, the rand was at R12.277 to the dollar from R12.2617, R14.7111 to the euro from R14.6442 and at R16.6744 to the pound from R16.6123.
The euro was at $1.1983, from $1.19423.