Rand firms by 1%, still in 'treacherous terrain'

The rand strengthened by 1% against the greenback in early trade on Thursday, one of the first signs of good news in what has been a tumultuous week for the local currency. 

The rand opened at R15.42/$, and after initially weakening, firmed by 1% to change hands at R15.27 to the greenback by 11:11.

Bianca Botes of Peregrine Treasury Solutions said in a morning note that, while it had strengthened somewhat, the rand would continue to 'trade in treacherous terrain' given the twin pressures of SA's technical recession and broad emerging market weakness. 

"While the rand has been the victim of emerging market spillover, the local economy has failed to produce any meaningful economic growth, with policy uncertainty and high fiscal spending tainting the country's leadership," she said.  

"Stagnation as well as a downgrade are now two very real threats." 

The local currency has lost 33% of its value from its best level of just under R11.50/$ in late February, in the wake of the 2018 Budget and President Cyril Ramaphosa's maiden State of the Nation Address.

The dollar index - which tracks the dollar's relative strength against a basket of currencies - was at 95.10 at 11:12 on Thursday, stable for the day.

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