Rand hits six-week high following buoyant trade data

The rand strengthens.
The rand strengthens.
Image: 123RF / Mikalai Maminau

The rand was firmer against major global currencies on Tuesday afternoon‚ bolstered by a trade surplus that was much better than expected‚ and by the global carry trade.

The rand reached an intra-day best of R13.0797 to the dollar‚ on track for its strongest monthly performance against the greenback since December.

Earlier‚ emerging-market currencies found some support from a Bank of Japan monetary policy announcement that was widely seen as dovish. As expected‚ Japanese policy makers tweaked certain parameters‚ but signaled rates would remain low for an “extended period of time”‚ said Oanda vice-president of market analysis Dean Popplewell.

This announcement was supportive of the carry trade‚ in which investors borrow money in low interest-rate environments to purchase higher yielding‚ but riskier assets‚ such as emerging-market assets.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) recorded a trade surplus of R12-billion in June‚ well ahead of a Bloomberg forecast of R5-billion.

The rand has found support from easing trade tension and a pick-up in sentiment towards emerging markets in July‚ with foreigners recently returning as net buyers of South African bonds.

At 2.30pm‚ the rand was at R13.103 to the dollar from R13.1557; at R15.382 to the euro from R15.3995; and at R17.2431 to the pound from R17.2804. The yield on the benchmark R186 was bid at a steady 8.58%‚ with the R207 at 7.375% from 7.365%.

The rand has appreciated 4.66% against the dollar so far in July‚ but has been beaten by the Mexican peso’s 6.72% gain. That currency was bolstered earlier in the month by the election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president. The Turkish lira has‚ meanwhile‚ depreciated 6.53%‚ recently under pressure from political meddling in that country’s monetary policy.

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