South Africa’s rand weaker after central bank rate cut

PUBLISHED: Fri, 24 Jul 2020 10:42:57 GMT

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand weakened early on Friday after the central bank cut interest rates on Thursday and signalled it may have reached the end of its easing cycle.

At 0645 GMT the rand was up 0.03% to 16.6700 per dollar, after falling to 16.7350 overnight, its weakest in four sessions — missing a brief emerging-market advance that had seen most risk currencies climb.

The central bank’s five-member monetary policy committee on Thursday voted three to two for a 25-basis-point rate cut to a record low of 3.50%. The rate cut had been expected.

Analysts said steadier rates in the final half of the could see the rand add to its recovery, with excess liquidity from stimulus programs in developed markets favouring risk assets.

In the current sessions, investor attention turned back to global issues, foremost among them tension between China and the United States.

“Relatively riskier assets, including the rand, are trading defensively as market sentiment deteriorated even further overnight due to an escalation of US-Sino tensions,” said economists at ETM Analytics in a note.

On Thursday, China ordered the United States to shut its Chengdu consulate, in retaliation for the closure of a Chinese consulate in Texas, in a tit-for-tat battle that may have implications for global trade and a growth recovery.

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