Rand weakens as markets lack clear direction
The rand was weaker against major global currencies on Wednesday afternoon but somewhat rangebound, as markets waited for new catalysts.
The US indicated on Tuesday that it would begin imposing another 25% of duties on an additional $16bn in Chinese imports, but risk assets continued to find some support from a stabilising Chinese yuan and upbeat earnings reports.
"There really is very little to discuss at the moment. Nothing has changed on the domestic or international front that is worth concerning ourselves with," Standard Bank currency trader Warrick Butler said.
Analysts said the stronger dollar on Wednesday was largely a result of a pullback following gains by emerging-market currencies on Tuesday.
Focus is now expected to shift to US inflation data on Thursday and Friday. Domestic markets are closed for the Women’s Day public holiday on Thursday.
Some relief for the local currency also came in the form of a falling oil price, which had rallied earlier in the week in the wake of the re-imposition of sanctions by the US on Iran. Investors are looking for a fall in US crude stockpiles when the Energy Information Administration releases weekly data later on Wednesday, Dow Jones Newswires said. This is due at 4.30pm South African time.
At 3pm, the rand was at R13.4615 to the dollar, from R13.3344, at R15.5932 to the euro from R15.4642, and at R17.3168 to the pound from R17.2586.
The yield on the benchmark R186 was at 8.695% from 8.68%, while the R207 was at 7.495% from 7.48%.