The rand pared gains on Friday afternoon, coinciding with the release of better-than-expected US nonfarm payrolls data, which further backed the case for increases in interest rates in the US.
The reaction by the dollar, however, was somewhat muted, suggesting the markets may have discounted the prospects of rates going too much higher in the US.
“The US jobs data was stronger than expected and yet the impact on the dollar is modest,” Brown Brothers Harriman analysts said in an e-mailed note. The market was “as confident of a hike” at the [US Fed’s] June 13 meeting “as it gets about these kinds of things”.
The US created 223,000 jobs in May, comfortably beating expectations of 190,000. The unemployment rate fell to 3.8% from 3.9%, but wages grew a modest 2.7% on a year-on-year basis, pointing to a tightening labour market.
The rand benefited from positive global sentiment, after Italy’s two largest eurosceptic parties struck a deal for a coalition government, removing a layer of uncertainty that unsettled global markets earlier in the week.
Share markets were a lot higher, reflecting a risk-on environment, which tends to benefit the rand.
Local bonds were weaker on the day, appearing to de-couple from the positive global environment. The yield on the benchmark R186 was bid at 8.63% in the afternoon, from 8.535% on Thursday.
At 3.28pm, the rand was at R12.6411 to the dollar from R12.7022, R14.7565 to the euro from R14.8540, and R16.8275 to the pound from R16.8849. The euro was at $1.1673 from $1.1693.