SA economists are grappling with two imponderables: why the rand has continued to weaken despite the slight easing of US-SA diplomatic tensions; and whether the Reserve Bank erred in hiking the repo rate last month, given that the rand weakened even more in response.

The most plausible explanation for the rand’s continued extreme weakness is that the shock of the US allegations that SA sold arms to Russia caused the markets to take a harder, more dispassionate look at all the background risks that have been bubbling under the surface of this economy...

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