South African rand stronger after Ramaphosa announces lockdown easing

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The South African rand began the week stronger on Monday after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a sweeping removal of lockdown restrictions over the weekend.

Ramaphosa said that from midnight on Monday a ban on alcohol and tobacco sales would be lifted, inter-provincial travel would be allowed and restaurants and taverns could return to normal business subject to hygiene protocols.

By 0631 GMT the rand was trading at 17.3400 versus the dollar, roughly 0.3% firmer than its previous close. Dollar weakness on global markets also supported the rand.

Government bonds were little changed in early trade, with the yield on the 2030 bond at 9.16%.

Africa’s most industrialised economy has been hit hard by one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, imposed in late March to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but Ramaphosa said the indications were that the country had reached the peak of COVID-19 infections.

Official forecasts are for gross domestic product to contrac by at least 7% this year, with South Africa having recorded the fifth-highest number of COVID-19 infections worldwide.

Partner Content

Disruptive digital solutions is rewiring the DNA of Banking

By Kennedy Mubita, Africa Head, SC Ventures. Imagine a bank whose customers can tap on a wearable device to...

The future of banking; digitization and collaboration as growth accelerants

By Kariuki Ngari, CEO & Managing Director, Standard Chartered, Kenya & East Africa COVID-19 has upended the social and...

Star Quality Speaker Line-Up at Africa Tech Festival 2020

Acknowledged as the world’s largest Africa-focused digital infrastructure and emerging tech event, the Africa Tech Festival has always attracted a stellar line-up of critical thinkers, analysts, futurists, keynote and inspirational speakers. 2020 will more than deliver on that reputation, with a stimulating array of visionary industry presenters, raconteurs and even some sporting greats.


Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox