JOHANNESBURG – The rand fell nearly 3 percent against the dollar on Thursday before recouping some lost ground as the political turmoil in the United States triggered an investor flight from riskier emerging currencies into safe-haven assets.
Most emerging markets currencies fell as uncertainty mounted over U.S. President Donald Trump’s future following reports that he tried to interfere with a federal investigation.
An exclusive Reuters report detailing interactions between major players in Trump’s campaign and Russian officials is continuing to roil markets.
The rand was fetching 13.4350/dlr at 1540 GMT, 1.8 percent weaker than its closing levels in New York. It had scaled a three-week high of 13.0400 on Tuesday.
“The major fear of the markets at this stage is that the turmoil in the Trump administration will delay the much-hoped for and little-seen stimulus,” Rand Merchant Bank currency strategist John Cairns said.
South African government bonds also weakened, with yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 rising 8.5 basis points to 8.77 percent. It had risen as much as 17 basis points at one point, according to Thomson Reuters’ data.
On the bourse, the benchmark Top-40 index closed 0.56 percent higher at 47,769.43 while the broader All-share gained 0.36 percent to 54,197.12
The bourse was buoyed by Steinhoff International, which lead advancers, adding 3.16 percent after announcing its plan late on Wednesday to spin off its African retail assets and list them separately in Johannesburg.