With anticipation surrounding today’s US news mounting, the Rand began trade slightly softer against peers including the US Dollar, Euro and Pound.
At the current exchange rate 1 Pound will purchase 14.9959 South African Rand as of 14:30 GMT
A relatively quiet news day left the Rand trading in a tight range against its peers on Tuesday, with local unemployment data meeting expectations and triggering little movement.
Fluctuations in the South African currency were also limited as investors looked ahead to today’s domestic trade balance report.
Prior to the release of the trade balance figures the Rand largely retained declines, despite separate data showing that South African consumer confidence rebounded from the nine-year low recorded in the first quarter of the year.
The GBP/ZAR exchange rate hit a low of 14.7378 Rand per Pound
In the second quarter of 2013 an index of consumer confidence surged by 8 points, advancing from -7 to +1.
Confidence increased across all population groups.
The First National Bank, who compiled the report with the Bureau for Economic Research, stated that the rise could ‘in part reflect a correction from an overly negative first-quarter result. However, the second-quarter level of consumer confidence is still well below the post-apartheid average of plus 6 index points, signalling a significant moderation but not a collapse in household spending.’
FNB continued: ‘For the rise in consumer confidence levels to translate into a more permanent improvement in household consumption expenditure, there also needs to be a sustained recovery in real disposable income growth and household credit extension.’
Separate figures showed that South Africa’s trade deficit narrowed to 7.7 billion Rand from 11 billion Rand in May. The contraction was significantly better than economists’ 8.9 billion Rand shortfall estimate.
However, South Africa posted a trade gap of 75.9 billion Rand in the first half of 2013, up from 51.6 billion Rand the previous year. This situation piles the pressure on the current-account deficit and the Rand.
While exports rose by 3.4 per cent in June, imports were down 2 per cent.
The Rand was relatively unchanged against its main peers following the data releases as the market hesitates ahead of the Fed policy decision.
During the North American session the US Dollar was supported by news that the US economy expanded by more than forecast, posting growth of 1.7 per cent in the second quarter rather than the 1 per cent forecast.
Of course the outcome of the Federal Open Market Committee’s two day policy meeting is expected to be this week’s big driver of market movement, but the Bank of England and European Central Bank rate decisions will also be of interest.
GBP/ZAR fluctuations could also be inspired by tomorrow’s UK manufacturing PMI data.
Current South African (ZAR) Exchange Rates
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The US Dollar/South African Rand Exchange Rate is currently in the region of: 9.8855 >
The Pound Sterling/South African Rand Exchange Rate is currently in the region of: 14.9959 >
The Euro/South African Rand Exchange Rate is currently in the region of: 13.0951 >
The Australian Dollar/South African Rand Exchange Rate is currently in the region of: 8.8680 <
The New Zealand Dollar/South African Rand Exchange Rate is currently in the region of 7.8076 <
The Canadian Dollar/South African Rand Exchange Rate is currently trading in the region of 9.4641 –
(Correct as of 14:30 GMT)