The rand was on track for its fourth day of losses on Thursday morning as the spread of coronavirus escalated pandemic fears.

While the rand strengthened after the budget speech on Wednesday, that did little to aid the local currency, which is down more than 4% over the past month, according to Bloomberg data, as the rise of coronavirus outside China adds to concern about global economic growth. By Thursday, the virus had claimed almost 2,800 lives and more than 80,000 people had been affected.

“The rand gave up all its earlier gains in the overnight session as the market digested the budget and global sentiment started to weigh in yet again,” treasury partner at Peregrine Treasury Solutions Bianca Botes said.

“With the budget out the way, the key theme remains the Covid-19 virus and the effect it will have on the global economy as more countries start expecting social and economic disruption. Central bankers remain on edge to see whether further stimulus will serve as a countermeasure to the expected slower growth,” Botes said.

At 10.40am, the rand was little changed at R15.2931/$ while it had weakened 0.63% to R16.7363/€ and 0.44% to R19.7944/£. The euro had firmed 0.56% to $1.0943.

Gold was up 0.64% to $1,649.91/oz and platinum 0.75% to $916.33. Brent crude was down 1.46% to $52.68 a barrel.  


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