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SA Rand value: 1994 – 2015

SA Rand value: 1994 – 2015

The South African rand traded at its worst levels since 2002 this week. Put another way, the last time the rand hit such a low, the price of petrol was under R4.00 per litre in Gauteng.

The local currency traded at R12.19 to the greenback on Thursday (12 March), having slumped to a 13-year low of R12.38 to the dollar on Wednesday.

According to data from Trading Economics, the South African rand has averaged R4.97 to the dollar between 1972 and 2015, reaching an all time high of R12.45 in December of 2001 and a record low of R0.67 in June of 1973.

The rand is one of several currencies to hit new lows against a rampant dollar, following positive employment data out the US last week.

The Brazilian real has pushed to almost 11-year lows; the Japanese yen is at a eight-year low; the Swedish krona is down to a six-year low and the Euro is teasing parity with the dollar at a new 12-year low.

According to Reuters data, concerns out of Europe and Asia – particularly doubts over Greece’s debt talks, and deflationary pressure in China – have also weighed emerging market currencies down.

The South African rand faced a rocky 2014, and has continued to slide in 2015, breaking through several resistance levels.

While the currency is currently at the mercy of global markets, a number of local factors have also contributed to its weakened position.

Economists laid the blame at the feet of an increased current account deficit, insufficient local savings, weak GDP growth and the ongoing power crisis.

In 2014, South Africa experienced its worst year against the US dollar since the peak of the global economic crisis of 2008 and 2009.

What a weak rand means

A devalued rand has many unfortunate knock-on consequences for SA consumers. As the rand weakens, so interest rates rise, hurting small businesses, home owners and indebted citizens.

The price of oil, and therefore the price of petrol also increases, which has an additional inflationary effect, including higher food prices.

Here is a look at the rand versus the dollar (annual averages) since 1994.

Rand versus dollar

Rand versus dollar (click to enlarge)

More on the Rand

Rand hits record low ahead of Zuma address

Rand vs the dollar in 2014

Why the rand is so weak

BusinessTech's Staff Writer is directly plugged into the South African Internet backbone, and spits out press releases and other news as they receive it. They are believed to be cl...
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  • “Weaker Rand will create jobs”. Guess those communists are eating their words now.

    • Jacko Superb

      Africa’s good story to tell!

    • Konstabel Koekemoer

      It would create jobs if we had a productive workforce and reliable power supply, but with our manufacturing sector in decline all it does is increase inflation.

  • Sink Bobo

    Me to Amazon:
    Let’s Just Kiss And Say Goodbye

  • Brian Exmachina

    Just another good story to tell.

  • DavidConsult

    Was it Trevor Manuel who said in 2009 that those who took their funds offshore in 2002 made a huge mistake? This graph illustrates just how wrong he was. A policy of continuously taking a portion of one’s investments offshore is a small price to pay for insurance against Rand fluctuations. Also, conditions in SA have deteriorated a lot since Trevor made his comments, and it will take a few years to recover.

    • Bones

      you nailed it there ! A guy were I worked baight R60 000 worth of US$ a year ago and you should see him smiling ! ! !

    • Konstabel Koekemoer

      The huge dip in the Rand around 2001 was an abnomality and caused more by speculation and panic than economic fundamentals. So yes, anyone who bought at that peak lost out. However the current Rand weakness is now based on real economic issues and the rand will not make any great recovery. .

    • CNN

      They did make a mistake, they should have moved it in 2004. R10 for every dollar or R6 for every dollar. Don’t believe me, R60 000 at R10, is $6 000. At R6 it is $10 000.

      So to make money. Lets use the whole graph. R100 000, to make it a nice amount of money, and exact figures to be good, no interest included, we just want the exchange.

      1994, R100 000 to dollars was $28 169,0141. So I move my money out.
      2002, $28 169,0141 to Rands was R296 338,028. Move my money back in, See I have gained R196 338,028 over 8 years.
      2005, R296 338,028 to dollars was $46 594,0296. Money back out.
      Now for interest sake we will bring it back in.
      2009, $46 594,0296 to Rands was R392 321,729. Another gain.
      2011, R392 321,729 to Dollars was $54 038,8057.
      2014, $54 038,8057 to Rands was R567 407,459. A gain of 567,4% over 10 years. Now in the real world this is impossible to get right. But would be fun. Trevor was not wrong. Everyone that did move their money was petrified that the price would climb higher.

      • Judy Douglas

        When you talk of taking your money out, the question is where to do invest it to make that gain? In a bank? with Investec of some similar institution?

        • CNN

          Taking your thoughts into account, propose we invested the money in a bank or something between those periods your gain could be leaps and bounds higher than I stated. Have your money invested in apple shares in 2005, June to be exact, would have got you 1143 shares, if you pulled all your shares out in OCt 2009 you would have come out with $217 823,659 or R1 834 075.21. Again of course in real world this still does not happen, as we are not extreme risk takers.

  • Trevor

    As someone looking in from the outside, it’s so hard to believe the value of the Rand in recent years; I would venture to say some international companies (and maybe local ones as well) are ripping the country off. Along with corruption, it’s fatal for a country’s economy, to say the least.

    When our family left Cape Town in September 1968, R1,00 bought $1.25 Australian; in 1972 R1,00 bought $1.15 Australian.

    • Kaito

      Agreed, it is a combination of factors that feed into each other. The government spends too much time stealing money to care that major companies like banks and retailers like pnp are cheating people with high banking fees and food prices are constantly rise more than CPI.

  • ProfessorJericho

    Bad overall, but good for those of us who get paid (at least partly) in Dollars.

  • Duiwel

    I’d like to see a similar article please, however compare what petrol / L , bread , milk, electricity cost then to what it costs now.

    Say use intervals of 5 years?


  • Mike

    Come back Trevor
    All is forgiven

  • blackout

    And what was it before 1994? die ou mense praat van n tyd waar die rand sterker as die dollar was. nou moet jy weet die ANC weet hoe om n ding op te etter!

    • Jacko Superb

      2-3 to dollar?

    • Iron Man

      In 1983 I remember it was 80 cents to a dollar. I imported a book that cost $10 and paid R8 something.

      • Helderberg Helderberg

        I just checked on the Rand value to the Dollar in 1983 and shows it was R1.12 – so your story make no sense. It was though 88c in 1981 but as from there-on it was already deteriorating to an unsatisfactory level of R3.55 – The big question now..!!! Who was to blame for the deteriorating of the Rand since 1980.? Surely we did’nt had a Zuma then. (The one man show)

        • Iron Man

          Worldwide sanction caused the rand to weaken in those days.

    • Helderberg Helderberg

      In 1981 it was 88c to a Dollar. And from then it was just falling and falling to a R3.55 by 1994. And remember we did’nt had an ANC or a Zuma. So who was to be blamed then ..?? Surely it must have been the old NP regime as they were the custodians of the Rand then.

      • Iron Man

        It was caused by European sanctions. At last Europe is getting payback for deserting us with the influx of muslims. I am not saying it is related to the sins of the fathers but it is interesting to watch what is happening there.
        I never thought I’d parrot the saying that karma is a bitch but there it is.
        Kry vir julle julle bliksems.

        • Helderberg Helderberg

          Nee wat Europa bly ons voor . Dai Muslims is geen probleem vir hulle. Bv Duitsland is ‘n klein land maar een van die wêreld se groot moondhede. Hoekom.? Want vir so lank as Suid Afrika haar naam dra het sy nog nooit geleer om ‘n Industriële land te word. Is mos lekker om aanhou ons kommoditeite uit te voer en dan die res in te voer. Suid Afrika kan geensins vir haar eie mense werk verskaf so wat nog Christelik vlugtelinge huisves. Dit is nodig om agv jou morele sowel Christen beginsels na jou broers in nood om te sien. Maar as jy nie geld soos Duitsland en ander Europese lande het sal ons ten alle tye ‘n grap in die oë van die wereld bly. Dankie vir Apartheid Regime en nog grooter dank aan ANC Regime.

  • Faizel Hassen

    Get rid of all the monkeys in parliament. Our Rand will trade much better.

    • Helderberg Helderberg

      To refer to people as “monkeys” is Hate-speach and Racism. Be warned.

  • AnRkey

    Good story to tell ja

  • Kaito

    Inflationary behaviour never made sense to me. When petrol price goes up, food prices go up by a similar percentage. When the petrol price goes down, food prices don’t go down but when the petrol price goes up the same amount it has fallen, food prices go up even further.

    • Helderberg Helderberg

      Leave this calculation to the Learnerd Economists as it surely shows you don’t understand this sum.

  • Damion

    Ow wait, when did the ANC take over again?…

  • Freddie Jones

    “As the rand weakens, so interest rates rise, hurting small businesses, home owners and indebted citizens.”

    Home Owners are not hurt in this way!

    Bond holders are!!!

    • Helderberg Helderberg

      Problem is we South Africans must stop living on Credit such as Bonds and HP (Hire Purchase). We must start learning to save.

      In Germany they don’t know what it means when we say we buy a car on HP Terms of 60 months etc. coz they 1st save for 36 to 60 months and then buy a car for cash. That’s the difference. Problem lies with us and not the Government as such.

  • Lungelo

    Proudlly brought to you by the ANC…

    • theophilus

      erm… and China.

  • Robert Dixon

    The value of the Rand is not just a function of the current “strong” dollar – it has been going down the toilet over many years now as it indicates what the rest of the world considers SA prospects to be.

    In a word – crap!

  • Tommy

    Can anyone give me a website that I can check the exchange rate, before 1994, or any given time. Would be interested in knowing what the Rand / Dollar rate was into the 1980’s
    (” The savior” of the world comes out of prison, and the currency goes for a wobble, and keeps on climbing )

    • GatoCatSA

    • Helderberg Helderberg

      You would be surprised to find out that the Rand value to the Dollar was 88c in 1981. Then it start falling and falling to the Value of R3.55 by 1994. This made the NP regime so “benoud” and that was the main reason they throw in the Towel and gave their Power away to the ANC who’s ripping us daylight off. So the NP’s were a lot of “bang-gatte” who could’nt handle the dropping Rand thus giving away their Powers so that the Country could go down on another regime’s watch. As simple as this.

  • Brian Tasker

    With the Australian Dollar appearing to drop at the same rate as the Rand against the USD, SA is still relatively inexpensive for me when I come and go.

    Way back in 2008 when I was working for a Canadian Survey Company based out of JNB, petrol in SA was around about the same price as in Australia (AUS $1.36). Yet in Botswana it was a little over half the price (AUS $0.85). What I cannot comprehend is why if the fuel is produced in SA and railed to Botswana, why it was so cheap there? Is it still cheap these days? I would expect that both in Australia and South Africa the difference to be a tax rip off…

    Seems to me taking a duel axle trailer with 8x 200 litre drums heading over to Martin’s Drift to fill up at Caltex would be the way to go. If fuel is still that cheap… You would be just returning SA fuel to it’s rightful home… 🙂

  • Norman

    Why is Rand exchange rate in December 2002 even quoted or used as a comparison?? The Rand depreciated by almost 90% in December 2002 for only a week or three. I don’t remember the reason but it was just a ‘Blip’ and should be excluded from all stats. The Rand was trading at about R11 to Pound sterling and jumped to just over R20 but dropped back shortly thereafter to about R12 to the Pound sterling. This is the Worst the Rand has been and will be getting worse with the current Government. Huge things have to be changed; Labour laws firstly. Maggie or the IRON lady succeeded in the late 70’s in the UK.

  • Craig Sacke

    wtong rand hit over 13 in 2001 the graph is wrong

  • se777ens

    To any rational thinking South African no
    matter your ethnicity, religion or culture! It must now be plain for ALL to see
    that a change is needed and the ANC should be voted out. We are sick and tired
    of the corruption, lies and constant blaming of the apartheid government for
    all your failures. The rand is at an all time low. Face facts, when the Apartheid
    government handed over the country to you. They gave you a well-oiled machine
    that was prosperous, growing, and full of wealth and with the lifting of
    apartheid things should only have gotten better over the years. Instead the ANC
    government have pilfered and raped the country blind. They have destroyed all
    that Mandela stood for and believed in, they have destroyed his legacy. To every
    single person in South Africa including the current ANC members, just look at
    the situation South Africa is now and think what is use to be like. We can have
    that again for every single citizen but we need to work together to make change
    possible and vote the ANC out. They had their chance and they blew it big time.

  • pedro

    South Africa is a very kind and special country. The people of south Africa always complain about the bad things that have happened and not really awarded themselves for what they have achieved. Basically what I’m trying to say is that south Africa can bounce back from this currency problem we all just need to work
    together and we shall with hope and faith

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