JOHANNESBURG - The rand remained firmly on the back foot during the early European session, hitting an eight-month low, as political intervention in the central bank’s mandate concerned investors according to NKC Research.
Meanwhile, the current account deficit widened to 2.9 percent of GDP in Q1 compared to a previous quarter shortfall of 2.2 percent of GDP. This however beat the median estimate which was for a shortfall of 3.1 percent of GDP. The local unit is testing the R15/$ barrier amid concerns that the ANC rift will lead to a further deterioration in institutions and policy credibility. At the close of local trade, the rand quoted 0.8 percent weaker at R14.98/$, after trading in range of R14.85/$ - R15.00/$. The rand staggered on cautiously overnight. Expected range today R14.80/$ - R15.10/$.
South Africa bourse
The JSE All Share (+0.03 percent) took a breather yesterday following a solid week of gains. Rand hedges, including British American Tobacco (+3.5 percent) and BHP Billiton (+1.0 percent), in general traded higher yesterday. In the overall emerging market sphere however, the MSCI Emerging Market Index (-0.2 percent) traded lower.
Brent crude oil
The Brent oil price traded little changed yesterday, as weak demand and rising US crude supply kept prices from advancing. At the close of local trade, benchmark Brent crude futures quoted 0.02 percent lower at $60.65pb. Crude prices traded firmer during Asian trade this morning.
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