The rand weakened more than 1% on Thursday morning as emerging-market currencies took a knock after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Covid-19 a global pandemic.

The local currency weakened to as much as R16.46/$ in intraday trade, after dropping to a four-year low of R16.99 last week, as the virus has spread to 114 countries, including SA, forcing the WHO to declare the outbreak the first pandemic caused by the coronavirus.

“If you are watching stock prices today in SA, brace yourselves, we will not be spared — it is going to be a tough day on the market. A slight precursor may come from the current trading levels of the rand against the US dollar,” RMB analyst Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana said.

At 11.08m, the rand had weakened 1.37% to R16.43/$, 1.61% to R18.5315/€ and 1.10% to R20.9904/£. The euro had firmed 0.17% to $1.1276. The rand was the third-worst performer among emerging-market currencies, just behind the Russian rouble at 2.32% and the Mexican peso 2.54%

Gold had added 0.57% to $1,643.97/oz while platinum was down 0.40% to $856.05. Brent crude had dropped 5.75% to $33.78 a barrel.


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