File Picture: REUTERS
File Picture: REUTERS

The rand hovered at six-week lows on Thursday morning as the fear about the rapid spread of the coronavirus weighed on risk sentiment.

The rand has performed the second-worst among emerging-market currencies tracked by Bloomberg over the past five days. The local currency earlier weakened to a six-week low of R14.71/$. 

The death toll for the coronavirus had risen to 170 on Thursday, with more than 7,700 people infected, Reuters reported. Investors are concerned about the effect this epidemic could have on the global economy.

“Expect to see further declines and more volatility in risk assets in the coming days. Investors who were waiting for the dips to buy may need to wait a little longer, until we see signs of a peak in the rate of virus infection. Meanwhile, gold and treasuries are likely to remain in demand,” said FXTM chief market strategist Hussein Sayed.

At 10.55am, the rand weakened 0.45% to R14.6816/$, 0.54% to R16.1759/€ and 0.22% to R19.0677/£. The euro was flat at $1.1018.

The 2030 government bond was stronger, with the yield falling four basis points to 8.96%. Bond yields move inversely to their prices.  

Gold was up 0.29% to $1,581.30/oz and platinum 1.09% to $966.96. Brent crude lost 1.14% to $58.88 a barrel.