Rand weakens ahead of budget speech

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THE rand was marginally weaker against the dollar on Tuesday morning ahead of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s budget speech to Parliament on Wednesday.

There was little to drive markets overnight as Wall Street was closed on Monday and there were no major releases.
Local political risk remains a factor for rand volatility. The nomination of former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe to Parliament added to speculation of an imminent cabinet reshuffle. TreasuryOne dealer Phillip Pearce said speculation around Molefe had weighed on the rand on Monday.

He said the rand surged to R13.02 on Tuesday morning‚ before pulling back. This was despite the stronger dollar. “We are piggybacking on improving risk sentiment in Asia and resurgent iron ore and copper prices.”

Comments by US Federal Reserve official Patrick Harker indicating that a March rate increase is not off the table have halted the rally in gold and platinum.

Pearce said the expectation of more than one increase this year increased the optimism of economic growth amid signs of an inflation pick-up.

At 8.58am‚ the rand was R13.0766 to the dollar from Friday’s R13.0452. It was R13.8472 to the euro from R13.8441 and R16.2899 to the pound from R16.2614.

The euro was $1.0588 from $1.0612. — search regex/BusinessLIVE

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