Finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ZIYAAD DOUGLAS
Finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ZIYAAD DOUGLAS

The rand weakened through R15 to the dollar for the third time in two months on Tuesday, before recovering slightly, as markets awaited President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement on the fate of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene.

Ramaphosa's office said an announcement was due to be made at 4.30pm, amid reports that Mcebisi Jonas had declined an offer to replace Nene.

Nene offered his resignation after failing to report extensive contacts he had with the Gupta family, which he had previously denied.

The rand regained some lost ground an hour before the expected announcement, after weakening to R15.0625 to the dollar in intraday trade. It weakened above R15 on August 17 for the first time in 2018, and again on September 4, when it fell to an annual low of R15.69.

At 3.28pm the rand was at R14.9037 to the dollar from R14.8532, at R17.0712 to the euro from R17.0671 and at R19.4752 to the pound from R19.4461.

The euro was at $1.1454 from $1.1492.

The rand was not alone, as other emerging-market currencies were on the back foot on a firmer dollar. The Pakistani rupee lost 7% after Pakistan also requested a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, following in the footsteps of Argentinia. 

The Indian rupee fell to a record-low earlier in the week, while the Indonesian rupiah plumbed a 20-year low against the dollar.

All eyes are now on the Chinese yuan, FXTM analyst Jameel Ahmad said.

There are some concerns over the yuan crossing the line above the 6.90 level against the dollar early this week, which is edging within close territory to the major psychological 7 level. 

"If the yuan does continue to weaken and move closer to 7 than below 6.90, it runs the risk of taking emerging-market currencies down with it," he said.

Local bonds were steady, with the benchmark R186 bid at 9.28% from 9.285%.

The US 10-year treasury was last seen at 3.2203% from 3.2296%.

mittnerm@businesslive.co.za

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