Rand notes. Picture: THINKSTOCK
Rand notes. Picture: THINKSTOCK

The rand staged a slight recovery on Wednesday morning amid fresh signs of thawing relations between the US and China, boosting investor appetite for risky assets.

The local currency has been at the mercy of global developments, although concern around the effect of power cuts on the broader economy weighed on sentiment.

Chinese authorities are reportedly considering reducing tariffs on US carmakers to 15% from 40%, in a step that is seen as positive for the two economies, which have for months locked horns over trade issues.

“While the details of the cut are not yet known, the move reverses the tariff hike in July in response to those imposed by the US, which is hopefully a sign of more unwinding to come,” said Oanda senior market analyst Craig Erlam.

The rand, which tends to benefit during risk-on trade, strengthened a little from its two-month low against the dollar.

But local bonds were steady, though, at much weaker levels from two weeks ago, reflecting market anxiety about the volatile global environment.

Foreigners hold the largest share of local debt at about 40%,  which renders the country vulnerable to capital outflows when global sentiment sours.

According to the JSE data, nonresidents have offloaded nearly R52bn worth of local bonds on a net basis so far in 2018, contributing the to 15% decline in the value of the rand in the same period.

The weaker rand environment contributed to a 25-basis point increase in interest by the Reserve Bank in November. 

At 9.44am, the rand was 0.21% better at R14.3012/$. It gained 0.11% to R16.2016/€ but was flat against the pound at R17.8918/£. The euro was 0.09% firmer to the dollar at $1.1329.

The yield the benchmark R186 bond last bid at 9.15%, little changed from 9.155% at its last settlement.

mahlangua@businesslive.co.za