Rand firms on Zuma exit speculation


File: After a strong run in recent weeks, the local currency has again breached the psychological R14 barrier.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand had firmed against major global currencies shortly before noon on Friday‚ as senior ANC officials cancelled public engagements amid speculation of a sustained push against President Jacob Zuma.

This includes deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa‚ who has reportedly also cleared his diary for Saturday. The rand reacted positively‚ paring losses from overnight.

Globally‚ a market sell-off has resumed‚ putting pressure on emerging-market currencies. with investors closely watching the opening of the Dow‚ to gauge whether stability will return over the weekend.

READ: Rand weakens after SONA postponed: economist

“The big question in markets now is whether this rise in US yields and the dollar as well as the fall in US equities will be a sustained market correction‚” said Rand Merchant Bank analyst Isaah Mhlanga.

The Vix fear gauge spiked to 37 percent on Monday — the highest since August 2015. It was a little calmer on Thursday but was trending up on Friday morning‚ said Mhlanga.

Analysts say local political dynamics have cushioned the rand against the global volatility.

At 11.30am‚ the rand was at R12.1116 to the dollar from R12.1675‚ at R14.8534 to the euro from R14.9083‚ and at R16.895 to the pound from R16.9356.

The euro was at $1.2264 from $1.2248.