South Africa’s rand is likely to cruise through the coming year but the outcome of a trade war between the United States and China could throw the currency off course
This is according to a new Reuters poll of analysts, who indicated that the rand will fluctuate in the next 12 months against the dollar.
While the medians showed it would remain around R13.50, the range of forecasts was wide – with the most bearish forecaster believing it will weaken to R15.00 per dollar while the most bullish saw it at R11.15.
“The dollar should remain strong as the Federal Reserve continues to tighten interest rates,” said Piotr Matys, an emerging-markets currency strategist at Rabobank.
“Another factor supporting the dollar against the emerging market currencies including the rand is this prevailing risk of a full-scale trade war between China and the United States,” he said.
The rand has lost all the gains made when markets cheered Cyril Ramaphosa’s new presidency at the beginning of the year.
However, the fact that it has now weakened 15% against the dollar since president Ramaphosa was sworn in is clearly not because his attempts at stabilising government and the economy are failing, said Dave Mohr, chief investment strategist at Old Mutual.
Instead, Mohr believes that it is simply too early to tell how Ramaphosa has impacted the economy, and the rand’s drop can rather be seen as a reflection of global conditions.