Rand on track for worst level since late November

The rand weakened to within a hair’s breadth of the symbolic R14/$‚ putting it on track for its worst quarterly performance since 2011.

The rand has been a casualty in the trade spat between the US and China‚ which has brought uncertainty to the global market place‚ thus undermining appetite for emerging markets that are perceived to be risky.

“The rand is struggling in this low-risk environment in which there is uncertainty about a trade war and the extent to which that feeds into the global economy‚” said Halen Bothma‚ market analyst at ETM Analytics.

Currencies and stocks in the emerging world have felt the squeeze throughout this quarter‚ though part of the selling is related to expectations of higher interest rates in the US‚ which has boosted the value of the dollar.

Adding fuel to the fire were earlier concerns of perceived political interference in the Turkish central bank‚ which played out negatively on the lira and spilt over into other emerging-market currencies.

The rand has lost about 17% against the dollar since the start of the current quarter‚ raising concern about the outlook for inflation.

The South African Reserve Bank deputy governor‚ Kuben Naidoo‚ said just more than a week ago that the Bank’s approach would be guided by evidence of a build-up of inflationary pressures.

Local bonds were weaker in mid-morning trade‚ with the yield on the benchmark R186 bond rising to 8.95% from 8.89%‚ meaning a drop in the value of bond prices.

“In the main we see this as a broader emerging-markets problem and bonds will probably capitulate to currency losses as investors will see no cause to step in the way of deteriorating sentiment‚” head of fixed-income dealing at Sasfin Wealth Ashley Dickinson said.

Earlier this week‚ China’s Shanghai Composite fell into so-called bear market territory‚ a drop of more than 20% from its recent peak.

At 10am‚ the rand was at R13.9116‚ after earlier weakening as far as 13.9880/$‚ from R13.8569/$.

It was at R16.0787 to the euro from R16.0149‚ and R18.1983 to the pound from R18.1756.

The euro was at $1.1558 from $1.1554.

– BusinessLIVE

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