Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

The rand was more than 1% firmer against major global currencies on Friday afternoon, finding support from a global relief rally and a softer dollar.

Weaker-than-expected US inflation data on Thursday has helped calm market jitters, after risk-assets came under pressure earlier in the week. A combination of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) warning about global economic growth in 2019, trade war, and US interest-rate rises have prompted what analysts said is a market correction.

The dollar has also been under some strain after US President Donald Trump took aim at the US Federal Reserve over its plans to raise interest rates.

Global stocks were higher on Friday, however, with the rand tracking gains by most of its emerging-market peers. A further boost to risk assets came in the form of reports that the US and China were seeking to resume trade negotiations.

Local focus is on an announcement by ratings agency Moody’s later in the day, although no change is expected.

The market had seemingly priced in no change in outlook from Moody’s, and the rand shouldn't be expected to swing wildly on the announcement, said Standard Bank currency trader Warrick Butler.

Focus in the coming week is expected to fall on the forthcoming medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS), which is expected to serve as a key test of the government’s plans to reign in the budget deficit.

At 3pm, the rand was at R14.4594 to the dollar from R14.6288, at R16.7084 to the euro from R16.9601, and at R19.0618 to the pound from R19.356. The euro was at $1.1556 from $1.593.

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