09 Nov 2017

Week Ahead: rand continues to weaken on fears of sub-investment grade credit ratings ahead of country reviews, with the IMF seeing little improvement to SA’s growth in 2018

Annabel Bishop

Chief Economist

Opening at R14.19/USD, R16.49/EUR and R18.57/GBP, the rand strengthened mid-week against the US dollar as the greenback softened on further news of delays in US tax reform.

Figure 1: SA Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting dates for 2017 and 2018

Currency outlook for the week ahead and foreign portfolio flows:

Figure 2: Purchasing price parity value of the rand

Opening at R14.19/USD, R16.49/EUR and R18.57/GBP, the rand strengthened mid-week against the US dollar as the greenback softened on further news of delays in US tax reform. However, by Friday the domestic currency had moved weaker to R13.40/USD, R16.76/EUR and R18.98/GBP as fears of a downgrade to SA’s sovereign ratings to sub-investment grade on 24th November persisted. Foreigners sold off –R6.9bn last week, and –R5.9bn this week, worth of bonds net of sales in response to the MTBPS of 25th October 2017. This week to date the net outcome was sales of –R1.9bn worth of debt. Key rating agencies defined the recent MTBPS credit negative, on the forecast deterioration in SA’s future fiscal performance compared to the fiscal projections released in the February 2017 Budget. Bond yields have also risen on the forecast deterioration in the projected fiscal metrics which cancelled out the previous projected fiscal consolidation.

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