The South African rand. Picture: REUTERS
The South African rand. Picture: REUTERS

The rand strengthened against major global currencies on Friday morning, although volatility remains high, as investors consider the coronavirus pandemic and oil dispute between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The volatility index, which measures panic in the market over a 30-day period, reached its highest level since the 2008 financial crisis due to the virus pandemic. 

Markets are pessimistic about the ability of policymakers to control the Covid-19 outbreak, as the infection spreads and death toll rapidly rises across the globe, Peregrine Treasury Solutions treasury partner Bianca Botes said in a note.

At 11.29am, the rand had firmed 1.79% to R16.2298/$, 1.64% to R18.1453/€ and 1.61% to R20.4510/£. The euro was up 0.11% to $1.1181.

The rand has been under immense pressure this week as the global sell-off reached its worst level on Thursday. It has now lost 15% of its value against the dollar so far in 2020.

Investors are considering fiscal and monetary responses by global policymakers, amid fears the coronavirus will significantly damage economic growth in 2020.