OPINION: Calm with Iran, but investors are getting rid of risky investments
The geo-political uncertainty on the Iran-US tension last week also had contributed to share markets moving in distress.
Exactly a week ago, it looked as if the US and Iran were about to embark on a direct military conflict.
A stream of Iranian provocations, which peaked with the shooting down of a US military drone led US President Trump to approve military strikes against the Islamic Republic - something that has not happened in decades.
Domestically the outcome of the State of the Nation Address and the debate around President Ramaphosa’s economic strategy did not affect the rand or share markets noticeably.
The rand exchange rate, as most other emerging currencies, rather discounted the possibility of a lowering in the bank rate by the US Federal Reserve, as well as other quantitative measures from central banks in Europe, Japan and China.
The rand had appreciated by 26cents against the dollar and by 2percent during June. Against the pound the rand had traded at levels lower than R18 (R17.97). This was 2.1percent lower than a month ago. Against the euro the rand also gained 20c last week, down to R16.09 after it had traded at R16.96 on June 7.
On the JSE the Alsi in line with other global bourses moved uncertainly and negatively during last week. The index closed on Friday at 58203 points. This was 738points (1.2percent) down for the week, but still had gained 6.6percent during June.
Despite the strong rand, the Fin15 index was down by 3percent. Industrials lost 1.6percent and property also moved lower by 0.6percent.
It is expected that the Central Energy Fund will announce a sharp decrease in fuel prices from this coming Wednesday. The price for 95 octane petrol will decrease by around 85c per litre while the price for diesel will come down by 66c per litre.
These sharp decreases are likely to contribute to the possibility of a cut in the repo rate by the MPC during its meeting next month.
This coming week investors will look out for the release of South Africa’s Business Confidence Index, Standard Bank's and Absa's Purchase Managers' indices (PMIs) and the level of foreign exchange reserves.
Globally the release of the various Non-Farm Payrolls for Canada and the US will draw the most attention as they will give further direction towards the movement in interest rates next month.
Many developed countries will also publish various PMI numbers as well as Consumer Confidence Indices and Trade Data. Crude and gasoline stock changes in the US will set the oil price.
Chris Harmse is chief economist of Rebalance Fund Managers.