File image: IOL
File image: IOL

SA rand unmoved yet by lockdown announcement

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - The South African rand traded near the $18 mark for most of the day and continued into the evening, even after president Cyril Ramaphosa announced a national lock down to help stem the spread of the coronavirus in the country. 

At 9:30pm, the rand traded at R17.77 to the US dollar. 

Earlier in the day, at 5:10pm, the rand traded 1.08% weaker at 17.7200 per dollar, after hitting a high of 17.5800 earlier in the session as it edged closer to an all-time worst level of 17.9950 in 2015.

Bonds continued to tumble, with the government issue due in 2030 adding 63.5 basis points to 12.305%.

With South Africa reporting a sharp jump in confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday to 402, from less than 50 just over a week ago, sentiment towards the rand and other local assets is set to remain on the ropes.

“The world is highly unpredictable, and we cannot know when foreign selling of (South African) assets will stop, nor how much economic damage we will end up inflicting on ourselves,” Anchor Capital Chief Investment Officer Nolan Wapenaar said in a note.

“However, what we do know is that common sense will once again prevail at some point.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a national state of disaster and imposed measures such as travel bans to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

South Africa will go into lockdown from midnight on Thursday, March 26 until April 16, the president announced on Thursday night. 

The president said the lockdown was mandatory and had to be implemented to ensure that the spread of the Covid-19 virus is reduced and the curve is flattened. 

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE / REUTERS 

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