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Economists: Rand weakening due to strengthening of dollar

With the United States meeting to decide on interest rates, a number of emerging market currencies have weakened against the greenback.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - With the rand losing around 70 cents to the dollar over the past three weeks, questions are being asked about whether the United States (US) currency is simply just returning to levels seen last year.

With the US meeting to decide on interest rates, a number of emerging market currencies have weakened against the greenback.

However, the rand has been particularly affected.

The rand improved significantly after the election of President Cyril Ramaphosa but questions are being asked whether this was due to a better political situation or just a weak dollar.

Rand Merchant Bank economist Isaiah Mhlanga said: “It’s a mixture of both. No one can deny that the positive sentiment domestically did help financial markets, and the rand in particular.”

But he says a weak dollar did boost the rand said: “So what we have seen in the first quarter was a weakness in the dollar which is why the rand gained quite substantially.”

Economists say the dollar has now reached its strongest levels since the start of the Trump presidency.