Rand flat against dollar, loses post-budget gains
The rand was flat in early trade on Thursday against the US dollar, losing all the ground gained in the previous session following the finance minister’s budget speech.
At 09:33, the rand traded at R18.28 per dollar.
Earlier on Wednesday it had strengthened to R18.12 after the news that the government will take on more than half of state utility Eskom’s debt, as Eskom implements South Africa’s worst blackouts on record.
Read all our Eskom coverage here.
The rand has been one of the worst-performing emerging market currencies this year.
“Unfortunately, the budget announcement did not offer as much relief to the ZAR as many might’ve hoped,” said ETM Analytics in a research note.
One factor weighing on the currency is that global watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which sets standards on combating money laundering and illicit financing, could add South Africa to its “grey list” at meetings on Friday, ETM said.
Being added to that list would be a reputational knock for South Africa and could hurt local asset prices, as grey-listed countries are subject to greater monitoring by the FATF on concern that they are at higher risk for money laundering and terrorist financing.
The government’s benchmark 2030 bond was weaker in early deals, with the yield up 1.5 basis points at 10.170%.