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Rand pauses recent slide as investors await next trigger event

The rand has lost close to 10% since 1 August, battered by local and global issues, breaking through a succession of technical milestones on its way to R15.50, a key pivot-point last reached in September 2018 that would trigger stop-losses held by importers and open the path to a deeper retreat.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand firmed early on Tuesday, pulling back from an 11-month low as long dollar investors took some profits and awaited further clues on the outlook for the global and local economy.

At 0650 GMT, the rand was 0.32% stronger at R15.4200 per dollar compared to an overnight close R15.4700.

The rand has lost close to 10% since 1 August, battered by local and global issues, breaking through a succession of technical milestones on its way to R15.50, a key pivot-point last reached in September 2018 that would trigger stop-losses held by importers and open the path to a deeper retreat.

But on Tuesday the currency’s slide paused, with a lean data calendar, low liquidity, and fresh hopes that a world recession will not materialise drawing some buyers at current levels.

Fears of a recession were soothed by the prospect of Germany ditching its balanced budget rule to boost spending and China mulling more economic support measures.

South Africa’s statistics agency publishes July inflation figures on Wednesday, and while tame price growth this year saw the central bank cut lending rates last month, the recent bout of currency volatility may reignite bets that the cutting cycle will be short-lived.

Bonds opened on a steady footing ahead of an auction of long-term government paper at 0930 GMT, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year issue adding 0.5 basis points to 8.44%.

In equities, bullion producer Harmony Gold reported a 19% rise in annual profit on higher output and cash flow, while headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the financial year ended 30 June was R2.04 per share.