The dollar and the rand. Picture: REUTERS, SIPHIWE SIBEKO
The dollar and the rand. Picture: REUTERS, SIPHIWE SIBEKO

The rand weakened through the R15/$ mark on Tuesday morning, in a slide coinciding with a pick-up in international oil prices — a toxic mix for already rising inflation.

The renewed slide in the notoriously volatile currency is likely to present a challenge for the government, which took the unusual step on Monday of intervening to soften the blow of record-high fuel prices.

Petrol prices will increase 5c a litre from midnight, just a fifth of the maximum amount recommended by the Automobile Association, the department of energy said on Tuesday.

Emerging markets as an asset class have been under pressure recently, affected by an array of factors including concerns about Turkey’s economic crisis.

The Turkish lira was a lot weaker, as was the Indonesian rupiah, which touched its weakest level in more than 20 years against the dollar.

Several emerging-market central banks, including Turkey, Indonesia and Argentina, have raised interest rates in an effort to stabilise their currencies. Higher interest rates tend to attract foreign capital.

At 10.12am, the rand was at R15.0423 to the dollar, from R14.8673. It was at R17.3900 to the euro from R17.2736 and at R19.2929 to the pound from R19.13.39.

The yield on the benchmark R186 bond was held steady at 9.03% in midmorning trade, from 9.02% at its last settlement on Monday.

Non-residents were net sellers of local bonds to the value of R4.4bn over the past week, bringing total sales to just more than R47bn in 2018. Net equity sales totaled R3.8bn last week.