Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The rand was marginally weaker on Tuesday afternoon, with global markets lacking a clear sense of direction as the market awaits the outcome of US mid-term polls.

The election of US public representatives will serve as a key test of the administration of President Donald Trump, offering the prospect of political battles over his foreign policy and economic plans.

Polls seem to suggest that the Democrats will win back control of the US House of Representatives, while Republicans will hold the Senate. This has largely been priced in, analysts said, although opinions on the market reaction to such a result is mixed.

“When you consider how markets have done since [Trump's] election victory — granted, primarily on the back of tax reforms — it’s easy to see why this may not be the most investor-friendly result,” said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.

On the other hand, the reduced policy uncertainty from gridlock in Washington could be beneficial for risk assets such as the Turkish lira and rand, said Rand Merchant Bank analyst Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana.

Local data and events are on the back seat this week, with focus expected to shift to the US Federal Reserve monetary policy decision on Thursday.

At 3pm the rand was down 0.31% to the dollar at R14.195, 0.44% to the euro at R16.2148 and 0.56% to the pound at R18.5652. The euro was 0.13% stronger against the dollar at $1.1423.