Rand unchanged as US stimulus hopes counter stricter SA lockdown
JOHANNESBURG - The rand held its ground on Tuesday as expectations of an expanded US stimulus package offset negative sentiment stemming from tighter coronavirus restrictions after the number of infections in the country surpassed the 1-million mark.
At 0540 GMT, the rand was trading at 14.6000 against the dollar, unchanged from Monday.
The Democrats-led U.S. House of Representatives voted in favour of President Donald Trump's demand for $2,000 COVID-19 relief checks on Monday from the previous $600. However, it has to still pass the Republican-controlled Senate.
This sent shares on the Wall Street soaring and increased appetite of investors for riskier assets globally, sending shares high early on Tuesday in Asia and boosting riskier currencies.
But the impact of a stricter lockdown in South Africa announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa is still to play out on the currency and the stock market locally.
The country on Monday tightened Covid-19 curbs, banning alcohol sales and extending the timings of a nationwide curfew, as infections touched a grim milestone owing to a faster-spreading variant of the disease discovered in the country.
South Africa has recorded the highest number of coronavirus infections on continent, with 1,004,413 cases reported and nearly 27,000 deaths, forcing the government to take the drastic measures, Ramaphosa said.