Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The rand was slightly weaker on Wednesday afternoon, the worst-performing emerging-market currency on the day, as investor sentiment remains capricious.

The rand looks set to break a three-day winning streak, as uncertainty in the global environment picks up a little. It found support on Tuesday following the release of upbeat manufacturing data for April, raising hopes that economic activity is picking up in the second quarter. Retail sales for April earlier were also better than expected, rising 2.4% year on year, from 0.1% in March.

Expectations that the US Federal Reserve may soon cut interest rates and the prolonged US-China trade war continue to be the dominant factors in global markets, which now await trade talks between the two countries at the Group of 20 (G20) summit later in June.

At 2.30pm, the rand had weakened 0.58% to R14.754/$, 0.7% to R16.7292/€ and 0.83% to R18.8173/£. The euro was 0.1% firmer at $1.1337. 

“There is potential for the rand to head lower [firmer] to R14.43/$ and even R14.20, if it manages to break back below R14.65,” Standard Bank currency trader Warrick Butler said in a note, adding, however, that the general trend appeared weaker for the moment.

The benchmark R186 government bond was firmer, with its yield falling two basis points to 8.3%. Bond yields move inversely to bond prices.

Gold was 0.65% higher at $1,335.30/oz, while platinum was down 0.23% to $814.11. Brent crude had fallen 2.32% to $60.64 a barrel, its third consecutive day of losses, driven by a weaker demand outlook for 2019.