South Africa’s rand was weaker yesterday before mining and manufacturing data releases later in the day which will give clues about the pace of economic recovery in Africa’s most industrialised economy.
At 0715 GMT, the rand traded at 14,4650 versus the dollar, 0,4 percent weaker than its previous close.
President Cyril Ramaphosa wants to revive growth before a parliamentary election in May, but he has been hampered by severe fiscal constraints.
The rand enjoyed a strong start to the year, rallying around 8 percent against the dollar in January as the US Federal Reserve signalled a slowdown in its monetary tightening. But it slipped back in February as state power firm Eskom implemented severe power cuts and has fallen further in March as Britain’s messy departure from the European Union has made global investors more risk averse.
The rand is one of the most heavily traded emerging market currencies and is highly susceptible to swings in global investor sentiment.
Analysts say twists and turns in the Brexit saga will remain one of the main drivers for the rand, after Britain’s parliament rejected leaving the European Union without a deal on Wednesday, paving the way for another vote which could delay Brexit until at least the end of June.
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s Top-40 index was 0.4 percent weaker in early trade, as was the broader All-share index.