The South African rand. Picture: REUTERS
The South African rand. Picture: REUTERS

The rand slid on Friday morning, in a fairly dramatic U-turn that reasserted the status of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

The dollar was strong against all currencies, after the US Federal Reserve  stuck to its path of gradually raising interest rates, on Thursday night.

The rand slipped more than 1% to R14.29 against the dollar, dampening hopes of a potential relief to hard-pressed consumers in the form a cut in fuel prices in December.

As recently as Wednesday, the local currency bought a single dollar at R13.89, which represented its best level in more than two months.

The prospect of more interest rates in the US could further lead to bond outflows from emerging-markets such SA, weakening the rand and threatening the outlook on inflation.

Foreigners have sold a net R55bn worth of local bonds so far in 2018, according to the JSE data.

The Fed has raised rates three times so far in 2018 and one more increase is likely in December. Rand Merchant Bank analyst Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana said the Fed appeared unperturbed by the recent stock-market woes and moderation in fixed-investment growth.

At 10.30am, the rand was 1.14% weaker against the dollar at R14.2905, 0.92% weaker against the euro at R16.2047 and 0.74% weaker against the pound at R18.5989. The euro was 0.22% weaker at $1.1338.

Local bonds were a lot weaker, too, with the yield on the benchmark R186 bond rising to 9.25%, from 9.13% at its last settlement.

ETM Analytics market analyst Halen Bothma said earlier in the week that while there was scope for the rand to recover from the oversold levels, the outlook was still murky given the fickle global environment stemming from the China-US trade dispute and the extent to which it could affect global growth and sentiment.

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