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Rand firms as focus shifts to national budget from Ukraine

In early trade the rand was at R15.02 against the dollar, 0.2% stronger than its previous close.
Image: AdobeStock

The rand strengthened in early trade on Wednesday as fears of an all-out war over Ukraine receded and investors’ focus shifted back on the national budget of South Africa to be presented later in the day.

At 0635 GMT, the rand traded at R15.02 against the dollar, 0.2% stronger than its previous close.

Riskier currencies across the world had seen investors fleeing to safe-haven currencies in the far east and the dollar late Monday and early Tuesday.

But, after a slew of sanctions imposed by several countries on Tuesday, it looked like a full-scale war could be averted, boosting riskier currencies.

All eyes are now on South Africa’s annual budget to be presented by the Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana.

“The rand has opened at R15.04 this morning ahead of Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s maiden budget speech later today. Analysts are expecting a reasonably positive address and we could see the rand trade below the R15.00 level again,” said Andre Cilliers, currency strategist at TreasuryONE in a note.

Godongwana, in his maiden budget speech, is expected to walk a tight rope between allocating funds for social spending and sovereign debt repayments. Investors will be keenly looking out for how the budget plans to most prudently allocate bumper tax receipts due to high commodity prices.

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