Rand steady despite euro risk

2012-01-27 14:41

Johannesburg - The rand was steady against the dollar in noon trade on Friday, even though the eurozone debt crisis loomed in the background.

"The rand this morning started off more or less where it is now and it's tracking the euro which continues to pivot around US$1.310 in very limited levels of action," a local rand trader said.

"Europe is still rather precarious even though earlier in the week we had good news from the FOMC."

The trader added that the market had no real direction at present and was "living on rumours".

"US GDP comes out later today but I really don't know how much effect it will have. I expect to see a little bit more dollar buying as we move closer to the weekend."

At 11:48 local time, the rand was trading at R7.8026 to the dollar from its previous close of R7.8192. It was trading at R10.2282 to the euro from R10.2301 before, and at R12.2432 against sterling from R12.2495 previously.

The euro was trading at $1.3121 from its previous close of $1.3087.

RMB said in a note on Friday morning, that the rand had finally experienced a good move yesterday with the dollar/rand dropping all the way to 7.79. There had also been some gains on the other crosses, notably the British pound and yen and even compatriot currencies such as the Aussie dollar.

RMB added that euro/rand had also pushed lower, but a break of the 10.20 level was a major piece of the puzzle that needed to be in place to keep rand gains going.

There were tentative signs that a different piece of the puzzle was starting to fall into place, RMB said.

"Foreigners were aggressive buyers of our bonds yesterday and while the data is exceptionally volatile, you can start to see a trend towards buying. This pattern is more evident in the EPFR data, which showed that international investors turned aggressive buyers of emerging market bonds in the week ended Wednesday."

RMB said the rand's short-term moves would depend mostly on euro/dollar, which had fared well after the dovish Fed announcement.

"Event risk is largely confined to this afternoon's US 4Q11 GDP number. Expectations are that the world's largest economy ended the year on a very strong note."

Meanwhile Dow Jones Newswires quoted Credit Agricole as saying that the euro was increasingly resilient as it had shrugged off negative news in the eurozone over recent weeks. This was in spite of on-going debt discussions in Greece and worries about a potential Portuguese debt restructuring.

Credit Agricole also saw the euro/dollar consolidating its gains ahead the European Union's summit on Monday.

Eurozone leaders might meet on Monday evening to discuss Greece's latest problems in reducing its debt levels, the Financial Times Deutschland reported Friday.

An additional meeting of eurozone leaders immediately after the official European Union summit on Monday could be ruled out, the newspaper said, citing people close to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy were against such a meeting, according to the report.

European Union Economics Commissioner Olli Rehn warned on Thursday that eurozone governments might have to increase their contribution to Greece's debt deal, as Greece and its private-sector creditors struggled to reach agreement on the level of writedowns.