JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand traded nearly 1% weaker early on Friday, near its lowest in 10 weeks, amid souring emerging market sentiment led by Turkey’s currency crisis and increased tension between China and the United States.
At 0700 GMT the rand was down 0.9% at 17.5550 per dollar, not far off Thursday’s session low 17.6596, its softest since late May.
Turkey’s lira plunged to a record low on Thursday, just two years after a devastating currency crisis that brought a recession and exodus of foreign investment, raising fears that state efforts to stabilize the currency could fizzle and spark bigger problems for the Middle East’s largest economy.
That kept pressure on other emerging currencies, which often move together as investors view them as a group with similar risks and rewards.
Risk sentiment was also strained by U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest attack on Chinese companies.
Citing security concerns, Trump issued executive orders on Thursday that will ban U.S. transactions with ByteDance, owner of the popular video-sharing app TikTok, and Tencent, owner of the WeChat app, in 45 days’ time.
“Markets will likely remain cautious ahead of the U.S. economic data to be released this afternoon,” said analysts at Nedbank, referring to employment and consumer credit figures. “Liquidity in the rand will likely be tested going into the close as S.A. heads into a long weekend and some position-squaring is likely.”
Bonds firmed, with the yield on the benchmark 2030 government issue down 1.5 basis points to 9.275%.
(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by David Holmes)