WATCH: Rand weaker as global economic worries weigh
JOHANNESBURG - The rand weakened early on Thursday as demand for emerging currencies continued to ebb due to growing concerns over the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy.
At 0645 GMT the rand was 0.32 percent weaker at 18.5600 per dollar from an opening level of 18.4980, extending losses from the previous session triggered by a grim economic outlook given by the US central bank.
Moves in risk currencies globally, including the rand, have been sentiment-driven in recent sessions, with investors mostly staying on the sidelines as they weigh the prospects of a quick economic recovery against signs of a second wave of Covid-19 infections.
The grim outlook highlights South Africa's economic fragility, with its dependence on trade with and investments from the United States, China and the European Union.
President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement late on Wednesday that the country would move to a phase 3 lockdown and further ease restrictions on the economy by the end of the month failed to spur optimism overnight.
South Africa lists clothing allowed for sale as lockdown eases
South Africa's government has published a more detailed list of clothing that can be sold in a first phase of easing its lockdown, giving relief to a clothing industry starved of sales.
The country took its first shaky steps on May 1 towards rolling back one of the world's strictest Covid-19 lockdowns, seeking a balance between containing the disease and providing much-needed relief for the economy.
In April the government had said clothing retailers will be allowed to sell winter and baby clothes and bedding, without clarifying what falls under those categories, causing confusion.
Under regulations published late on Tuesday, the permitted categories include all children's and baby wear, maternity wear, adult sleepwear, underwear and footwear, outwear items such as exercise apparel and winter clothes such as knitwear.
South African treasury targets June 24 to finalise coronavirus budget
South Africa's National Treasury said it would aim table a new budget on June 24 to ratify plans for a R500 billion stimulus package aimed at easing the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
"A revised fiscal framework will also be presented, to account for substantial revenue losses emanating from the economic shock of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown," it said in a statement.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the rescue package in late April. It equates to 10 percent of GDP and includes higher welfare and unemployment grants as well as support for businesses.
The treasury said the June 24 date was a "guideline" when it wanted to conclude preparations for a new budget and thereafter consult with the speaker of parliament on a final date.