Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The rand had reversed its overnight gains by Friday afternoon as expectations for easing trade tension between the US and China benefited both countries, while other emerging-market currencies suffered.

At 2pm, the rand was 0.66% weaker at R13.8136/$, 0.77% weaker at R15.7503/€, and 0.14% weaker at R17.858/£.

The Wall Street Journal reported that US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin proposed the idea of lifting some or all tariffs on Chinese imports to advance trade talks.

Chinese vice-premier Liu He is set to meet US officials in Washington on January 30 and 31 for the latest round of trade talks, aimed at resolving the trade stand-off between the world’s two largest economies. 

This is despite the US pulling out of the World Economic Forum in Davos next week. US President Donald Trump cited the reason being the US government shutdown, which is now the longest in history.

“[Trump] cancelled the US delegation trip to Davos where US-China talks were planned, but markets appear to be numb to the erratic actions of the US leader nowadays,” Sasfin Wealth head of fixed income dealing Ashley Dickinson said.