Rand softer versus dollar in uncertain markets
The rand was softer against the dollar in early trade today as uncertainty and volatility plagued markets.
"I think the rand may settle down later," a local rand trader said.
"And US non-farm payrolls out tomorrow might help settle markets," he added.
For the morning session, he put dollar/rand in a range of R6,72 to R6,82.
At 8.34am local time, the rand was bid at R6,7610 to the dollar from its previous close of R6,7157. It was bid at R9,6618 to the euro from R9,6313 before, and at R11,0457 against sterling from R11,0367 previously.
The euro was at $14307 from $14342.
RMB said in a morning note that a late rally had resulted in US equities finishing in the positive - for the first day in eight.
"The relief helped all risky assets, with USD/ZAR trading off a high around R6,84 to reverse all the way to R6,70. The outlook remains for choppy two-way trade - but it is the blowout risk that continues to haunt us."
RMB added that last night's US rally was being described as nothing more than a technical bounce.
"There is not much in the way of economic news to get excited about; yesterday's service ISM data confirmed what Monday's manufacturing data suggested - the pace of US economic growth has dropped back to around 1,5%.
"The key point is that the concerns over the global economy and the ongoing problems in the PIIGS have not disappeared and so the risk of a rand blowout remains in play."
RMB added that the big news in the currency markets yesterday was the intervention by both the Swiss and the Japanese to try to halt the "safe haven" gains in their currencies.
With regard to the rand, RMB said the currency had "historically blown out" around one year in every three.
"In 2008 when the subprime crisis was brewing, the rand remained oblivious to the deterioration in global markets. It traded so strong that we invented the term 'Super ZAR'. We all know how that turned out in the end.
"In 2008 the key term for emerging markets was 'decoupling', i.e. could they escape the weakening economies and the financial stress of the core economies? The answer turned out to be no. We're about to have the same conversation again."
RMB said a key market to watch would be South African bonds.
"Usually the ZAR drives bonds, through its effects on inflation, but things could reverse; foreign inflows and falling yields show investors see SA as a safe haven play from developed world stress, rising yields would signal that SA is being lumped back into the risky asset basket."
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