The difference between South African foreign assets and liabilities swung to a surplus of R113 billion ($7.2 billion) at the end of September from a deficit of R131 billion at the end of June, the central bank said in a statement on its website on December 31. That’s the first positive reading since the Pretoria-based bank began recording the data at the end of 1956.
“The volatility and decline in domestic and global equity markets as well as the significant decline in the end-of-period exchange rate of the rand resulted in a respective modest decline in foreign liabilities and a substantial increase in South Africa’s foreign assets,” the Reserve Bank said.
The rand plunged 25% against the dollar last year, the worst performance after Brazil’s real among major currencies tracked by Bloomberg. The South African currency has been under pressure because of a slump in commodity prices, lacklustre economic growth and rising interest rates in the US. It fell to a record low of 16.0543 against the dollar in December after President Jacob Zuma unexpectedly fired his finance minister.
The rand fell 1.43% against the dollar to 15.8594 against the dollar as of 23h55 in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
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