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Rand firms as dollar slides

Rand firms as dollar slides < News < Bet On Markets

Johannesburg — The rand rose in quiet trade on Friday as the dollar slipped, but traders said volatility was possible after the weekend’s G20 meeting in Berlin.

The dollar fell after US Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan said the US current account could not continue to widen at its current pace, and given the size of the trade gap, investor appetite for US assets would likely cool.

Traders say weekend comments from finance ministers and officials at the G20 industrialised and developing nations meeting could provide the impetus for the rand to break R5.94 to the dollar.

That would put it on target to test R5.87 to the dollar, taking the rand to its best levels since January 1999. Its gains last week were driven by the dollar’s dive to a record low of $1.3074 to the euro.

The euro was at $1.3046 while the rand was at R6.0175 to the dollar at the end of Friday trade. Traders said the market would keep a close eye on inflation data this week for clues to the rate outlook, with speculation mounting of another cut in December given the positive effect the rand’s strength will have on inflation.

The targeted CPIX index is seen to have risen by an annual rate of 4.1 percent in October, well up from a low of 3.7 percent in the previous two months but still inside its target range.

Traders said a rally in bonds looked like calming down, as the market had already priced in a 50 basis point rate cut next month.

The yield on the R153 was down 3 basis points at 8.29 percent, while the 194 was up 5 basis points at 7.87 percent.

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