Photo: Adobe Stock
In unprecedented times, it is inevitable that we see records tumble: The biggest one of the lot for the dollar to rand exchange rate almost went on Monday.
Photo: Adobe Stock
At first, we had one of the worst slumps in 40 years. Then we moved on to the worst “close of trading” figure ever seen on the market. Now, the US dollar to rand exchange rate has approached an absolute rock-bottom. On Monday, the SA currency was dangerously close to setting its worst exchange rate ever against the buck.
The lowest-known level ZAR has reached against the dollar – not just at the close of business, but at any given time – was the intraday weakest level of R17.91. South Africa came perilously close to breaching this level last week, as it dropped past the R17.50 mark. On Monday morning, it pushed the envelope once more as COVID-19 continues to wreak fiscal misery.
Mzansi’s financial performance – in terms of global exchange rates – has been in the mud for a while now. Hectic bouts of load shedding and stagnant growth projections have put the brakes on our economic development. The impact of the coronavirus has the potential to decimate a discal structure that was already preparing to throw in the towel.
At 7:45 this morning, the rand dropped to R17.87 to the greenback – just four cents off of its worst-ever performance against its American counterpart. It retreated, ever-so-slightly, back to R17.75 at 11:00, but we will stop short of calling it a ‘comeback’. It’s flirtation with the R18-mark is way too close for comfort
Rand currently R17.80 to the Dollar. Expect tens (or hundreds) of thousands of unemployed as a result of government's imposed limitations on businesses. We're headed for very bleak times. #COVID19SouthAfrica— DJFlatWhite (@DJFlatWhite) March 23, 2020
Trading at under R16 to the Euro earlier this year, ZAR has also plummeted here – it’s now down to R19.06 per Euro. It doesn’t fare much better against the British Pound, trading at R20.67. At the start of 2020, that figure was under R18.50. Truly, this is a devastating time for our currency.
Cyril Ramaphosa is due to address the nation on Monday night. He’ll need to pull a rabbit out of the hat to keep our unsettled rand from going past the brink.