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JOHANNESBURG - The rand has tumbled to its lowest levels in six months, to become one of the worst-performing emerging markets currencies this month, as a result of large sell-offs in the market.

Investec chief economist Annabel Bishop said yesterday that the negative market moving events from South Africa had seen the rand ride on global market events once the euphoria that had surrounded President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ascension to the high office came to an end in March.

Bishop said that South Africa saw larger portfolio outflows than other emerging markets this month, as global risk aversion towards emerging markets reversed the Ramaphosa euphoria.

“Foreigners have sold R43.7billion of South African portfolio assets net of purchases to date in May, versus R32.3bn in net purchases for January to April 2018, as market expectations of future US interest rate hikes have elevated, as a quicker hike trajectory is now anticipated,” Bishop said.

“The portfolio flow reversal has also been apparent in a number of other emerging markets, after a $2.5trillion (R31.86trln) net inflow into emerging markets portfolio assets since (the second quarter of 2009).”

The rand has been on the back foot and looks set to break the R13 to the resurgent US dollar mark for the first time this year. It hit R12.89 to the greenback yesterday, as pressure on the currency mounted ahead of the interest rate and credit ratings review later in the week.

By 5pm yesterday the rand was bid at R12.79 against the dollar.

Raymond Parsons of the North West University, Potchefstroom, said the recent wobbles had been primarily driven by the strengthening the US dollar, rather than by domestic economic and political factors.

Parsons said the slow upward trend in American bond yields has put pressure on several emerging-market currencies, including the rand.