Last week's deal, in which Absa bought most of Barclays' African operations in exchange for Absa shares, was a “welcome statement of confidence [in South Africa] at a time when there is much negative news flow around the domestic socio-political environment,” Citi strategist Leon Myburgh said at the weekend.

“The key take-away is that it shows that Barclays is happy with its investment in Absa and South Africa by extension. Barclays is not taking cash for the sale and rather increasing its stake in Absa. Fortunately for the rand, there is no rand outflow as Absa is not paying cash for Barclays Africa.”

But he noted: “If Barclays chooses to hedge its rand exposure, that will represent a rand outflow and therefore it is possible that there could be rand weakness at the time that this transaction is concluded.” - Ethel Hazelhurst