THE rand was softer against the dollar late on Friday following comments by rating agencies about the South African budget, but it did manage to regain some of its budget-related losses.

At 3.28pm the rand was at R15.6682 against the dollar from R15.5854 at the close on Thursday. The currency touched a best level of R15.5199 to the dollar in intraday trade.

Against the euro, the rand was at R17.2570 from R17.1983 previously. It was at R21.9090 against the pound from R21.8013 previously.

The euro was at $1.1015 from $1.1020 previously.

Iquad Group’s currency dealer, Tony van Dyk, said the pressure on the rand on Wednesday was attributable to Brazil’s being downgraded to junk status by ratings agency Moody’s.

The rand weakened more than 40c against the greenback during Mr Gordhan’s speech on Wednesday afternoon.

Treasury One’s chief currency dealer, Wichard Cilliers, said the rand for the most part pulled back some of its losses after the budget. After some reflection, sane minds prevailed and the budget was deemed to be not as bad as people had made out initially, he said.

A problem for the rand and SA is that ratings agency Standard & Poor’s was not very impressed with the budget, and SA could see some changes in June.

Even if the other two agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, had chosen to issue favourable comments about the budget, any failure of implementation would lead them to change their minds, he said.

Investors were now awaiting a US report on personal income and spending, and a revision of US fourth-quarter growth numbers.