South Africa’s rand remained under pressure on Monday after the release of weak manufacturing data out of China, a key importer of local commodities.
Traders and analysts expected limited impact from domestic vehicle sales data due out later in the day, with the rand likely to continue being driven by expectations over the timing of interest rate hikes in the United States.
At 0635 GMT the rand was 0.1 percent weaker at 12.6850 to the greenback compared with Friday’s close at 12.6725.
Government bonds were also slightly weaker, and the yield for debt maturing in 2026 added half a basis point to 8.255 percent.
The rand has dropped nearly 10 percent against the dollar this year – hitting a 14-year low of 12.7700 last week – due to investors dumping emerging market assets in anticipation of U.S. interest rates rising.
The rand has been among the hardest-hit EM currencies because South Africa relies heavily on portfolio inflows to finance its current account deficit equivalent to nearly 5 percent of GDP.
“With the market still pretty much split on whether the U.S. Fed (Federal Reserve) will deliver its first rate hike in more than a decade in September, the bulk of the market’s focus will be on this coming Friday’s U.S. non-farm payrolls numbers,” BNP Paribas Cadiz Securities analyst Jeffrey Schultz said.