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Rand steady, oil crash in focus

The rand steadied against the dollar early on Tuesday, but traders expected the currency to remain under pressure as a plunge in US crude oil futures to below zero sapped risk appetite.

South African rand.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand steadied against the dollar early on Tuesday, but traders expected the currency to remain under pressure as a plunge in US crude oil futures to below zero sapped risk appetite.

At 0642 GMT, the rand traded at R18.8450 per dollar, unchanged from its close on Monday.

US crude oil futures plunged into negative territory for the first time ever on Monday, dragged down by a supply glut and sagging demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic, though they managed to scrape back into positive territory early Tuesday.

“The oil price collapse is bound to add to the market jitters. That will likely support safe-haven assets and add additional pressure to riskier emerging markets,” said Bianca Botes, executive director at Peregrine Treasury Solutions.

Locally, markets await feedback from the government following a cabinet meeting on Monday to discuss new measures to cushion the economic and social impact of COVID-19. South Africa has the most confirmed coronavirus cases in sub-Saharan Africa, at 3,300, with 58 deaths.

In fixed income, the yield on the 10-year government bond due in 2030 was up 3 basis points to 10.330%.