Rand firms after upbeat manufacturing data
Local currency gains against the dollar after manufacturing data for October surprises to the upside, which follows earlier positive mining data
The rand strengthened against major global currencies on Tuesday afternoon, boosted a little by upbeat mining and manufacturing data.
Manufacturing in October jumped 3% compared to the same period last year, well ahead of a consensus poll, conducted by Trading Economics, forecasting 0.8% growth.
Mining data was also positive, with growth of 0.5% in October, ahead of a consensus forecast of a 1.5% decline.
The rand was little changed ahead of the manufacturing data, but swiftly gained a few cents immediately after it was released, extending gains later in the afternoon.
At 2pm the rand was 0.68% firmer to the dollar at R14.287, 0.33% against the euro at 16.2798 and 0.32% against the pound at R18.0121. The euro was 0.35% stronger at R1.1395.
The benchmark R186 government bond was bid at 9.15% from 9.155%.
Sentiment on global markets was recovering a little, after risk assets were heavily sold off on Monday, due to a range of factors.
Notable among these was confirmation that UK Prime Minister Theresa May had failed to convince her party to support her draft Brexit agreement. The key issue is the border with Northern Ireland — which has seen both sides agree to a “backstop” which would avoid serious border controls between that territory and the rest of Ireland.
The inclusion of a unilateral withdrawal from the backstop under certain conditions seems the only way of saving May’s deal at this late stage, said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.
“If she fails to come back from Brussels with it, that could set in motion a series of events that creates huge uncertainty at the most illiquid time of year in the markets which makes for a potentially chaotic few weeks, with a leadership challenge, no confidence vote in the government and second referendum calls all on the table.”