Rand softer on commodity weakness

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Johannesburg‚ Sep 1 (I-Net Bridge) - The rand was a touch softer in early trade on Monday as the weakness in commodities put pressure on commodity currencies.

“We are likely to have a slow day today as the US and Canada are on holiday. At the moment the commodity currencies are under pressure‚ due to commodity price weakness‚” a local trader said.

At 8.45am‚ the rand was bid at R8.4043 to the dollar from R8.3870 at Friday's close and R8.4938 at Thursday's close. It was bid at R10.5541 to the euro from its previous close of R10.5567 and at R13.3165 against sterling from R13.3155 before.

The euro was bid at US$1.2565 from $1.2580 at Friday's close and $1.2508 at Thursday's close.

Absa Capital said in its morning report that assurances from US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke that the Federal Open Market Committee stood ready to act if needed ensured that emerging-market currencies and commodities rallied into the weekend.

“The rand strengthened against most currencies last week‚ but enjoyed some noteworthy gains in relation to some of its commodity and emerging-market peers‚ such as the Australian dollar and the Turkish lira. Despite Friday's worse than expected South African trade balance reading‚ more widespread strike activity in the mining sector and Saturday's worse than expected Chinese purchasing managers index data‚ rand bulls are maintaining a firmer bias this morning‚” the bank said.

“The fact that the rand rebounded from the 8.50 per dollar mark last week ensured the local unit remains firmly entrenched within an R8.05/R8.55 range that has been in place since mid-May.

“September is littered with event risk‚ which is likely to shape global sentiment and in turn provide the majority of rand direction. This week all eyes will be on US employment and manufacturing data‚ because if these data prove to be weaker than expected then the chances of another round of quantitative easing (QE3) at the September 13 FOMC meeting will increase‚ which in turn should see the rand benefit from a weaker dollar environment.

“Meanwhile the European Central Bank will have to provide the market with sufficient liquidity (namely a 25 basis points cut rate cut and more quantitative easing measures) at this week's policy meeting‚ otherwise the consequential risk aversion is likely to plague rand bulls.

“We are not expecting the rand to be heavily influenced by this week's local data releases‚ especially considering that Friday's reserves data are likely to be skewed by revaluation effects.”

Dow Jones Newswires reported that the dollar was mixed in directionless Asian trade on Monday‚ after Bernanke's closely watched speech on Friday was within market expectations‚ and as markets awaited key events later this week.

Lingering expectation that the Fed will act if the US jobs market fails to improve have weighed on the greenback against the yen. Yet the dollar rose against currencies like the Australian dollar after dismal China manufacturing data Saturday undermined risk sentiment amid concern about the global economy.

8.45am Bids Range so far Previous Close

Dollar/rand 8.4043 8.3714 - 8.4124 8.3870

Euro/rand 10.5541 10.5205 - 10.5832 10.5567

Sterling/rand 13.3165 13.2902 - 13.3436 13.3155

Euro/dollar 1.2565 1.2501 - 1.2584 1.2580

-I-Net Bridge


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