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Rand hovers near seven-week lows

Sep 01 2016 10:03

Johannesburg - The rand traded close to the previous day's seven-week low against the dollar on Thursday, hurt by investor concerns over the future of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Gordhan was head of the tax service when it set up a surveillance unit which police say was used to spy on politicians.

Rand touches early session low of 14.73/dollar, but claws back to 14.68 by 09:04, up slightly from Wednesday's close at R14.72.

Government bonds largely flat after recent heavy losses, yield on 2026 benchmark eases half a basis point to 9.04%.

Market eyes moves by major lenders after asset manager Futuregrowth stops lending to some state-owned local companies, citing concerns about "a power struggle going on between factions in government."

Blue chip and all-share stock indices barely changed from Wednesday's close soon after market opens at 07:00.

“The trend upwards in USD/ZAR has been relentless,” said RMB analyst John Cairns on Thursday. “The pair has now made higher-highs and higher-closes for nine straight days. Early trade yesterday suggested that the rand can pause in the absence of news flow — but there has been no shortage of stories to latch onto.

“Futuregrowth’s decision to cut off fresh lending to certain SOEs highlights the private sector’s uncertainty over the political situation. It also, likewise, ratchets up the pressure in the Hawks-Gordhan saga — as does the National Treasury’s decision to block the renewal of the Eskom-Tegeta contract.

“While the political backdrop to the rand continues to worsen, the economic fundamentals continue to improve. The July trade surplus was not quite as large as expected but the bigger story is that the trade account has registered a R17bn surplus year-to-date against a R25bn deficit in the same period last year.”

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rand  |  markets  |  currencies

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