Rand on track to end 2015 more than 35% weaker against the dollar


JOHANNESBURG Dec 31 (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand firmed up on Thursday after falling sharply overnight as the dollar extended gains on the back of a slide in global oil prices.

By 0645 GMT the rand had risen 0.1 percent to 15.5400 per dollar, clawing back some ground after shedding more than one percent to 2-1/2 week lows in the previous session.

Government bonds were flat in early trade, with the benchmark 2026 issue at 9.685 percent.


The rand is on track to end 2015 more than 35 percent weaker against the dollar, with Africa’s most advanced economy battered by severe electricity shortages, drought and the shock removal of the finance minister in the past 12 months.

Central bank data on Thursday showed private sector demand for credit quickened to 9.53 percent year-on-year in November, while M3 money supply slowed.

On Wednesday data showed South Africa recording a small surplus, 1.77 billion rand, in November following a 21.6 billion rand deficit in the previous month.

The positive glimmer in the data was however not enough to shield the currency from a rampant dollar, which strode to new highs against a number of currencies as declining oil prices weighed on oil-dependent economies.

The rand is likely to trade in a narrow range for most of the session with markets around the world winding down ahead of the New Year’s Day long weekend. (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)