UPDATE 1-S.Africa's rand dips, stocks slide as global caution weighs

  • Reuters
  • Forex News
UPDATE 1-S.Africa's rand dips, stocks slide as global caution weighs
Credit: © Reuters.

(Adds latest figures, analyst comments)

JOHANNESBURG, April 22 - South Africa's rand weakened on Thursday, in uncertain trade globally, as investors awaited the next moves in lending rates in the United States and Europe and weighed the impact on economic recovery of delayed vaccine rollouts.

At 1530 GMT the rand ZAR=D3 was 0.42% weaker at 14.3100 per dollar, back pedalling from an overnight close at 14.2500 in what has so far been a week of limited moves in a narrow range, reflecting the wider uncertainty in global markets.

The rand has by far outperformed its emerging market peers, with gains of around 3% year-to-date against the greenback, owing largely the high real yield, or carry, on the currency that is a function of low inflation and high risk premium.

Higher commodity prices have also cushioned demand for the currency against rising U.S. Treasury yields and some indications that lending rates there and in the euro zone are on their way up.

"Given the rand's propensity to turn quickly, the question is how long can the current momentum persist? Our fair value estimate for the USD/ZAR is 14.00, based on the rally in commodity prices," said RMB analyst Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana.

"Due to ongoing fiscal risks, we expect USD/ZAR to trade above fair value, around a midpoint of 14.80," added Ramkhelawan-Bhana in a note.

Bonds were also weaker, with the yield on the benchmark 2030 issue ZAR2030= up 3 basis points at 9.125%.

Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) opened lower, recouping some of the losses through the day before backtracking to close in the red.

The benchmark FTSE/JSE all-share index .JALSH closed 0.26% down at 66,972 points. The blue-chip index of top 40 companies .JTOPI ended 0.35% lower at 61,183 points.

Sector performance was mixed with banks, financials and mining weaker, while real estate and industrials gained.

"There is no clear trend," said Greg Davies, analyst at Cratos Capital. "Difficult to see what can push us a lot higher from here, but there's been some buying of the banks," he said, adding that banks were currently offering the most value.

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