Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The rand was nervous on Friday morning ahead of the Group of 20 (G20) meeting in Argentina, oscillating wildly in a generally weaker trend, trading at R13.72/$, R15.62/€ and R17.53/£ at 9.50am.

The fate of the rand and other emerging-market currencies in the coming days rests on this weekend's talks between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, which will hopefully result in an announcement they are ending their tit-for-tat trade war.

Time in GMT, so 7am is 9am South African time
Time in GMT, so 7am is 9am South African time
Image: Iress

The jitters ahead of G20 meeting saw the rand weaken from the R13.60/$ level reached on Thursday.

Bloomberg reported that the rand enjoyed its best November this year in three decades. Its more than 7% gain in November, however, did not match last December's “Ramaphoria” rally in which it gained nearly 10%.

Cyril Ramaphosa's replacing Jacob Zuma as SA's president saw the rand strengthen during the first three months of the year, but it then proceeded to weaken. August was 2018's worst month in which the rand fell nearly 11%, followed by June, in which it lost 8%.

Image: Iress

Reserve Bank deputy governor Francois Groepe told Bloomberg that SA, having the 16th most heavily traded currency while only the 33rd largest global economy, makes it a proxy for emerging markets.

The JSE was weaker on Friday morning, with the all share index down 1.4% to 51,010 points and the top 40 down 1.5 % to 45,016 points at 10am.

Of top 40 shares, Absa fared worst with a 3.65% drop to R153. Banks generally suffered from the weaker rand, with Nedbank down 3.5% to R263.25 and FirstRand down 3.2% to R67.82.

laingr@businesslive.co.za