Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO
Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO

A spike in concern that the global economy is headed towards a synchronised economic downturn put pressure on the rand on Wednesday, pushing it near to an 11-month low.

On a day of weak economic data, sentiment began souring after China announced its industrial output grew at its slowest pace in 17 years in July.

Following that release, UK inflation came in higher than expected, German GDP shrank 0.1% in the second quarter, and eurozone industrial output shrank more than twice as fast as the market expected, falling 2.6% year on year in June.

At 3pm the rand had fallen 1.07% to R15.295/$, 1.05% to R17.0929/€ and 1.14% to R18.4575/£. The euro was flat at $1.1174.

The rand is still slightly better than the R15.4672 it reached on Monday. The currency recovered 1.07% on Tuesday, after US President Donald Trump offered an olive branch to China, agreeing to delay the imposition of tariffs on certain goods until December 15.

On Wednesday, local economic data was a little more upbeat, with retail sales growing 2.4% year on year in June, a little faster than the 2.3% expected by markets.

SA should avoid a recession in the second quarter, but along with the more upbeat data, a weaker rand was reducing chances of the Reserve Bank giving SA a second interest-rate cut in 2019,  Capital Economics senior emerging-markets economist John Ashbourne said in a note.

Forward rate agreements now point to the Bank's delaying another cut until early 2020, Ashbourne said, adding, however, that he held the nonconsensus view that SA would still see another cut in September.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za