Picture: MICHAEL BRATT
Picture: MICHAEL BRATT

The rand was slightly firmer against global currencies on Monday afternoon, coming off a two-month low to the dollar, ahead of risk events this week.

The dollar has been put under some pressure by disappointing US nonfarm payrolls numbers, which came in well below expectations on Friday.

Jobs growth in the world’s largest economy almost stalled in February, with that economic release coming after a series of disappointing reports that signalled the global economy is slowing.

Risk appetite improved a little on Monday, bolstered by upbeat comments on the US economy by Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell.

China’s top central banker also made comments suggesting the US and his country were close to a deal on currency issues. The White House has accused Beijing of manipulating its currency to support exports.

At 2pm the rand was 0.3% firmer at R14.3879 to the dollar, 0.18% stronger at R16.1793 to the euro, and flat at R18.732 to the pound. The euro was 0.11% weaker at $1.1245.

The dollar was trading in somewhat tight ranges on Monday, with the focus on Tuesday’s Brexit vote, said Oanda analyst Dean Popplewell. Should UK lawmakers vote against Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, May has indicated she will seek an extension of the March 29 deadline for the UK’s exit from the EU.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za