S.Africa's rand down slightly, protests weigh on sentiment


South Africa’s rand was slightly weaker against the dollar on Tuesday, trailing its emerging market peers as ongoing student protests against the high cost of university education highlight the myriad of problems facing Africa’s most developed economy.

Government bonds were also unchanged from the previous close, while the local bourse opened slightly lower, with the blue-chip Top 40 index and the All-share index each down 0.27 percent at the start of trade.

The rand traded at 13.6705 by 0704 GMT, a tad weaker than Monday’s close at 13.6460.


This was despite a generally weaker greenback ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting beginning later in the session.

“This week’s expectation of a dovish Fed supports risk-taking; however, the rand is underperforming compared to its high-yielding peers due to domestic student protests fuelling negative sentiment,” Rand Merchant Bank market analyst Isaah Mhlanga said.

South African universities have been hit by more than a week of protests by students angry over the cost of university education.

In fixed income, the yield for debt due in 2026 was steady at 8.365 percent, a three-week high.