S.Africa's rand firms on risk appetite but gains seen limited


South Africa’s rand strengthened against the U.S. dollar in early trade on Monday on renewed appetite for riskier assets as Chinese investors returned to markets after the Lunar New Year holiday.

At 0645 GMT, the rand traded at 15.7900 versus the dollar, 0.54 percent firmer from Friday’s New York at 15.8750.

“This morning initial indications are that the markets are somewhat more enthused by risk, having managed a close below the 15.9000 level, and some renewed enthusiasm in the far east after their time off,” Nedbank analysts said in a note.


But some analysts said rand gains may be short-lived with the dollar up against a basket of currencies and ahead of some key local and U.S. economic data on Wednesday.

“Global markets – notable the dollar – have regained some confidence, which restricts the scope for further USD/ZAR downside,” Rand Merchant Bank currency strategist John Cairns said in a note.

“Data risks emerge from Wednesday onwards. Don’t take today’s probable limited moves as an indication that market volatility has dropped away.”

Statistics South Africa is expected to release January inflation and December retail sales data on Wednesday.

Stocks were set to open stronger at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 futures index rising 1.4 percent.

Government bonds firmed, and the yield for the benchmark instrument due in 2026 was down 5 basis points at 9.175 percent.