S.Africa's rand firms after cbank says could act to curb volatility - CNBC Africa

S.Africa's rand firms after cbank says could act to curb volatility


by Reuters 0

S.Africa's rand firms after cbank says could act to curb volatility. PHOTO: Money101

The rand pulled back from record lows against the dollar on Tuesday after South Africa's central bank said it would consider intervening in exchange markets to ease excessive volatility.

By 0600 GMT, the rand rose 0.11 percent versus the greenback to 13.1800 after spiralling to its weakest-ever level beyond 14.00 as concerns over China's economy deepened and wreaked havoc in emerging assets.

The absence of a new stabilisation plan from Beijing triggered panic selling on Monday across emerging markets, nudging the rand into free fall and prompting the central bank to release a statement outlining its concerns about the currency.

While not spelling out the nature of intervention it was considering, the central bank said excessive rand volatility was a concern and could warrant action.

"This statement was mainly aimed at telling markets it will not allow the S.A. currency to go into free fall," analysts at NKC African Economics said in a note. "Though tools to its disposal will tarnish its reputation of credibility."

The bank may consider using its own currency reserves to stem the sell-off, but analysts say it does not have enough to make an impact, while raising rates too sharply would hurt already weak economic growth.

The key part of the bank's statement was that it would intervene "in the event of developments that threaten the orderly functioning of markets," John Cairns, a currency analyst at Rand Merchant Bank said.

Yields were flat in early trade after rising sharply in the previous session. The benchmark 2026 issue was at 8.555 percent in early trade.

South Africa's statistics agency publishes economic growth figures later in the session as well as second quarter mining production, both expected to show a slowdown that may further dampen confidence toward the local market.