The rand was in fragile territory against the dollar on Friday (22/03/2013) after sliding to fresh four-year lows overnight as emerging currencies took the heat from renewed risk aversion over Cyprus’s debt woes.
Markets have also punished the rand in the last couple of days after the Reserve Bank on Wednesday expressed concern about its recent sharp fall but maintained a stance of non-intervention in the currency markets.
By 0647 GMT the rand was at 9.3025 against the greenback, just 0.11 percent firmer than its close at 9.3130 the previous day, when South African markets were closed for a public holiday.
The local unit rand hit a four-year trough of 9.3655 on Thursday, taking its cue mainly from a softer euro on the back of weak economic data out of the region and fears of a banking collapse in Cyprus.
"Pull backs should be expected as we have come a long way, but having said that, we have broken important resistance levels and the trend is still to buy dollars on dips,” Standard Bank trader Jan de Fouw said.
The rand should trade in a 9.25-35 range during Friday’s session, he added.
Government bonds were steady in early trade and the yield on the 2026 issue was flat at 7.5 percent while that for the 2015 bond was slightly lower at 5.53 percent.
Traders and analysts were disappointed on Wednesday when central bank Governor Gill Marcus kept interest rates on hold, citing rising inflation pressure from the weaker rand, but did not talk the currency up as some in the market had expected.
But some analysts believe the rand has not fallen enough to warrant a rescue move from the Reserve Bank.
"A lot of people want to blame the governor for not hinting at intervention, but did anyone really think that rand weakness has extended so far that the Bank would act?” Rand Merchant Bank analyst John Cairns said in a note. (Reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa; Editing by Ed Stoddard) - Reuters