Rand nears 7-week low

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Johannesburg - South Africa's rand fell against the dollar in early Wednesday trade, showing a vulnerability that could see it test a three-year low of 8.71 set in June if the euro region continues to look shaky and fuel investor risk aversion.

Government bonds tracked the currency lower as foreigners sold some bonds, driving yields up for the third straight day.

The rand was at 8.5475 to the dollar at 0630 GMT, 0.3 percent weaker than its 8.52 close in New York on Tuesday.

Analysts say the rand is likely to fall towards 8.71, a three-year low hit in early June. It hit a seven-week low of 8.5525 on Tuesday.

“In the near term, I am looking for a re-test of the June 1 peak at 8.7100 before an eventual break above that in due course,” said Kamran Sheikh, technical strategist at Informa Global Markets.

The rand, in line with other emerging market currencies, is suffering from a bout of risk aversion as Spain's borrowing costs soar and the euro's fourth largest economy looks increasingly as though it may need a bail-out.

If safe-haven buying persists, the rand could test 8.71 in the next couple of sessions.

“I think that can happen next week, or even towards the end of this week,” Sheikh said.

Government bonds took a breather as foreigners sold some debt in line with the broader risk-sell off and after a hard rally last week.

The yield on the three-year bond climbed two basis points to 5.505 percent while that on the 2021 issue rose 2.5 basis points to 6.785 percent.

Power utility Eskom will sell 300 million rand of a 2028 inflation-linked bond at 0900 GMT while the National Treasury announces issuance plans for next week at the same time.

The local market will turn attention to a speech by Deputy Governor Daniel Mminele at 1100 GMT.

The market will be looking out for any clues on the central bank's thinking on growth since the Reserve Bank and the World Bank have cut growth forecasts for this year, to 2.7 and 2.5 percent respectively.

The Treasury has also said growth will not meet its 2.7 percent projection. - Reuters


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