File Picture: REUTERS
File Picture: REUTERS

The rand was firmer on Wednesday but flirted with the R15/$ level in the morning session as investors await developments in the US-China trade war. 

In a rapid sell-off, the rand hit R14.99/$ — a level it has not reached in more than two months as US-China trade war jitters decreased the appetite for riskier assets. The trade war took another turn this week after the US labelled China as a currency manipulator after the yuan weakened to its worst level in 11 years. 

“China had wanted tariffs to be removed as part of any deal, so by doing the opposite [US President Donald] Trump was effectively delivering a rebuke,” London-based economists at Schroders Keith Wade and Craig Botham said in a note. 

“The problem now is that both sides could get into a position where they cannot back down without losing face. Consequently, the prospect of a deal has diminished and the risks of escalation have risen.”

 At 9.55am, the rand had firmed 0.25% to R14.8887/$, 0.33% to R16.6667/€ and 0.29% to R18.1094/£. The euro had weakened 0.1% to $1.1192.

Gold had gained 0.76% to $1,485.58/oz  and platinum 0.49% to $854.87. Brent crude had gained 0.51% to $58.90 a barrel.

The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) is scheduled to release the business confidence index for July later in the day.