Rand strengthens as dollar slides, stocks jump

South Africa’s rand strengthened against a sliding dollar on Friday, as investors started to scale back bets on how far central banks will be able to lift interest rates this cycle to rein in inflation.

Global financial markets have been roiled this month on worries that rapid rate hikes by major central banks could cause a recession. However, sliding commodity prices eased some worries about inflation on Friday, sending world stocks higher. read more

At 1625 GMT, the rand traded at 15.8075 against the dollar, 0.97% higher than its previous close.

The dollar index , which measures the US currency against six rivals, dropped 0.18% to 104.21, and was on track for its first weekly decline this month, as traders dialled down bets on where interest rates may peak. read more

Analysts however, have warned of a more hawkish South African Reserve Bank (SARB) in the near-term, expecting it to raise rates to inflation.

“Although the ZAR has held up well to date, the SARB is likely to deem more-decisive policy action necessary to raise policy rates back up to pre-COVID levels as soon as possible in light of an increasingly complex and uncertain environment for risky assets,” Jeff Schultz, senior economist at BNP Paribas South Africa, said in a note.

Stocks on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) rose, mirroring gains in global equity markets, with the All-Share index (.JALSH) rising 1.61% to 66,349 points, and the Top-40 index (.JTOPI) closing 1.65% higher at 59,993 points.

The government’s benchmark 2030 bond fell, with the yield up 16.5 basis points to 10.260%.

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