Rand weakens as market awaits risk signals from central banks

Beyond political risk to the rand, including pressure to nationalise the Bank, the scaling back of quantitative easing in Europe and the US could weaken the rand later in 2017, said Rand Merchant Bank analyst Isaah Mhlanga.

A weak rand usually leads to inflationary pressures due to the increased cost of imports, such as fuel.

Trading in European markets was expected to be cautious ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB) policy statement later on Thursday, analysts said.

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) announced earlier that it had kept its monetary policy steady and had pushed back its forecast for reaching a 2% inflation rate. The BoJ partly blamed the lack of Japanese inflation on its companies, which had been trying to absorb higher labour costs through improved productivity rather than passing on costs to consumers, reported Dow Jones Newswires.

At 11.30am the rand was at R12.9575 to the dollar from Wednesday’s R12.9174‚ at R14.9043 to the euro from R14.8747 and at R16.8109 to the pound from R16.8229.

The euro was at $1.1502 from $1.1515.

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