Picture: 123RF/LEON SWART
Picture: 123RF/LEON SWART

The rand was weaker against major global currencies on Wednesday morning, amid safe-haven interest in the dollar.

The local currency remains under pressure after it emerged on Friday that Eskom had received a R5bn bailout from taxpayers, while emerging markets are under pressure due to tension between the US and Iran.

There is little to suggest an imminent pullback to R14.20/$ given the extent of data and event risk sweeping through the local market, said Rand Merchant Bank analyst Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana.

If geopolitical risks and Eskom are not enough to starve appetite for rand-denominated assets, the dollar is also enjoying support from better-than-expected US corporate earnings, which pushed the S&P 500 to its strongest close on record on Tuesday, she said.

At 9.55am the rand was 0.75% weaker at R14.3635/$, 0.63% down at R16.106/€ and 0.75% softer at R18.5732/£. The euro had lost 0.13% to $1.1213.

The bid on the benchmark R186 government 10-year bond was at 8.555% from 8.54%. 

US corporate earnings remain the centre of attention, but there are some local data releases this week to give the market direction.

Earlier, the FNB/BER business confidence index showed that conditions remained gloomy in the first quarter. Business confidence fell to two index points from seven points in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Load-shedding weighed on confidence in the first quarter, said FNB chief economist Mamello Matikinca-Ngwenya, adding that prolonged strikes, rising fuel prices and the announcement of tax increases also contributed to declining confidence,