Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

THE rand was more than 30c weaker against the dollar late on Wednesday, after Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivered the much-awaited budget speech.

At 3.25pm, the rand was at R15.5540 against the dollar from R15.2380 at Tuesday’s close.

Against the euro, the rand was at R17.0758 from R16.7891, and at R21.6342 against the pound from R21.3597.

The euro was at $1.0979 from $1.1018 previously.

Bidvest Bank’s chief forex dealer, Ion de Vleeshauwer, said the main problem was that ratings agency Moody’s downgraded Brazil’s sovereign rating two notches to junk, just as Mr Gordhan started delivering his budget speech.

"The rand and Brazilian real weakened as Mr Gordhan made his speech and the decrease in the rand is probably exaggerated due to the Brazilian downgrade. The Brazilian downgrade increases the risk for a local downgrade. This downgrade does not bode well for SA and did not help the rand," Mr De Vleeshauwer said.

On the budget front, he said, the market might have been expecting more aggressive tax hikes and for it to have been more geared towards significant growth. The budget did not stipulate where the government was going to increase growth, which was punishing the rand, Mr De Vleeshauwer said.

The government was also continuing to look for off-shore loans. It was also going to issue more offshore bonds, which weighed on the rand.