Morning Snapshot: Rand struggles to retain gains against dollar despite US economy losing steam

By 12.14am the rand was 0.18% lower against the dollar at R19.04. File: Photo

By 12.14am the rand was 0.18% lower against the dollar at R19.04. File: Photo

Published Apr 26, 2024


In South Africa, the rand on Friday appreciated in early trade, but struggled to retain its gains against the dollar following the release of key US data.

By 12.14am the rand was 0.18% lower against the dollar at R19.04.

Bianca Botes, a director at Citadel Global, said on Friday that the local unit had largely been influenced by hawkish comments from US Federal Reserve chairperson Jerome Powell and domestic inflation uncertainties. SA Reserve Bank had reiterated its commitment to maintaining elevated interest rates amid lingering economic uncertainties.

In an unexpected turn of events, the resilient US economy has finally shown signs of cracks, as the US gross domestic product (GDP) reading significantly undershot expectations, she said.

“The US economy has undergone a notable transformation and is finally starting to run out of steam. The first quarter of 2024 witnessed a downturn in economic growth to a nearly two-year low as US GDP only expanded at a modest annualised rate of 1.6%, falling short of expectations and down from 3.4% in the previous quarter. This marks the second consecutive quarter of deceleration and the lowest growth since the contractions observed in the first half of 2022,” she said.

The recent economic data releases had stirred movements across financial markets, with investors closely monitoring central bank actions and key indicators for insights into future market trajectories, she added.

Trading Economics said the dollar index steadied around 105.6 on Friday as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of a key US inflation reading for March that could provide more clues on the path for Federal Reserve monetary policy. The index slid to near two-week lows after US GDP data.


Meanwhile, the JSE index traded higher near the 74 930 point level on Friday, in line with major global peers, as traders digested upbeat results from major US technology companies and looked ahead to the release of key US inflation data, according to Trading Economics.

On the corporate front, tech companies Naspers and Prosus, alongside resource-linked stocks and industrials were leading the gains.

“In business news, the board of Anglo American has unanimously rejected BHP’s proposal to merge with it, saying the structure it contemplates is highly unattractive and Anglo will deliver significant value for shareholders on its own. Anglo American is the fourth-biggest stock in the FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index, with a weighting of 4.3%,” it said.

This week Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe signalled his opposition to BHP Group’s proposed takeover of Anglo American. For the week, the JSE was set to book a gain of more than 2%.


Gold rose past $2 350 (R44 734) per ounce on Friday, as investors continued assessing the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy direction following mixed results from recent economic data, Trading Economics said.

Crude oil

Brent crude futures strengthened above $89 per barrel on Friday and were set to gain about 2% this week, underpinned by an improving demand outlook and persistent supply risks related to the Middle East conflict, , Trading Economics said.