Rand Report: Rand stable despite global turmoil: Image: Supplied

Rand Report: Rand stable despite global turmoil 

Last week, the South African rand (ZAR) stayed stable, fluctuating between R23.75 and R23.95 against the British Pound. More in the following report.


Rand Report: Rand stable despite global turmoil: Image: Supplied

Over the past week, the South African Rand (ZAR) maintained stability, fluctuating within a limited range. The currency consistently traded between R23.75 and R23.95 against the British Pound. During the same period, the gold market experienced similar patterns, with investors capitalising on profits while awaiting important inflation data and guidance from the US Federal Reserve. 

Rand Graph: Image: Supplied

Unexpectedly high inflation figures released on Tuesday led market participants to anticipate potential shifts in the Federal Reserve’s approach to monetary policy for the rest of the week. This anticipation was further fuelled by higher-than-expected retail sales data, suggesting that the Federal Reserve may not yet have a firm control over inflation, potentially maintaining higher interest rates for an extended period. It is noteworthy that market expectations have adjusted to anticipate three interest rate hikes in 2024, as opposed to four.

Gold prices stabilize amid dollar’s recovery

The gold price also showed signs of consolidation last week, with narrow trading ranges reflecting a cautious stance among traders and investors pending further clarity on the direction of the US Dollar. This consolidation in gold prices paralleled movements in the ZAR against major currencies, indicating a strong correlation between these assets. Despite current geopolitical uncertainties, including ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, the gold market’s fundamentals remain largely unaffected. Meanwhile, the US Dollar exhibited a recovery in the latter part of the week, diminishing expectations for a rate hike in June, now anticipated in July, which has temporarily bolstered the Dollar’s short-term outlook amid prevailing high-interest rates.

The ZAR’s performance was primarily influenced by global market trends rather than domestic economic developments. Nevertheless, specific data points, such as GDP growth and monetary policy indicators like interest rates and inflation, can significantly impact the market under stable conditions. 

Manufacturing up, mining down

Last week, South Africa reported an increase in manufacturing output alongside a decline in mining activity, the latter pointing to persistent structural challenges in the mining sector. However, the positive manufacturing data underscored the resilience of the local economy, providing some support to the ZAR’s value.

In the upcoming week, attention will turn to several central banks, including the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, as they provide updates on their monetary policies. Both institutions are expected to maintain current interest rates, with a likelihood of adopting a more dovish tone. Anticipations of rate cuts have been set for future central bank meetings, highlighting a pivotal period for monetary policy and its implications for global financial markets.

Upcoming market events 

Wednesday, 20 March 

  • GBP: Inflation rate 
  • ZAR: South African inflation rate 
  • EUR: European Central Bank President’s speech 
  • USD: Federal Reserve interest rate decision

Thursday, 21 March  

  • EUR: Manufacturing and service data 
  • GBP: Manufacturing and service data 
  • GBP: Bank of England interest rate decision
  • USD: Jobless claims 

Friday, 22 March  

  • GBP: Retail sales 

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