Rand back below R16 ahead of expected big Fed hike

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Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

The rand strengthened to below R16/$, as markets wait to see the size of an interest rate hike that the US Federal Reserve will deliver later on Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, the rand was trading at R15.99/$ after slumping to almost R16.18 on Monday. 

Following a steep selloff earlier in the week on worries of rising inflation and slowing growth, markets are now pricing in an 87% chance of a large 75 basis point (bp) rate hike, which has buoyed the dollar but hurt riskier assets.

The MSCI's index for emerging market currencies was flat but traded just above one-month low levels it had hit on Monday.

"As we hit this big day, markets now fully price in a 75 bp hike today. So that actually incorporates a small risk of 100 basis points," said Jim Reid, managing director at Deutsche Bank.

Further adding to the wariness, the European Central Bank will hold a rare, unscheduled meeting on Wednesday to discuss the turmoil in bond markets, underscoring official concern around a blowout in borrowing costs for some euro zone nations.

Against a now stronger euro, most Central and Eastern European currencies dipped.

The Russian rouble dipped slightly at the start of trading, shielded from the widespread global sell-off of recent days by Moscow's capital controls.

The MSCI's index for emerging market stocks edged 0.1% higher, mainly boosted by China shares after data showed signs of recovery in May after slumping in the prior month as industrial production rose unexpectedly.

However, consumption was still weak in China and underlined the challenge for policymakers amid the persistent drag from strict COVID curbs.

The JSE's All Share Index was flat on Wednesday morning, with Anglo Platinum and Sibanye gaining almost 3%.

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