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Markets

South Africa's rand little changed, bonds also flat

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's rand was little changed from its previous close and government bonds were also largely fl
28 Dec 2011

randJOHANNESBURG: South Africa's rand was little changed from its previous close and government bonds were also largely flat in sluggish trade on Wednesday, with most players out of the market until the start of the new year.

The rand traded at 8.1530 against the greenback at 0653 GMT, down just 0.04 percent from Tuesday's close.

"It's been very stagnant, I still think euro zone developments will be the major driver and the rand will trade accordingly," a Johannesburg rand dealer said.

"It's very thin; and just looking at the price action this morning, markets are illiquid. So any kind of big order will drive the market in a particular direction. Barring that the euro zone story will be the main driver for the rand."

South Africa's financial markets reopened on Wednesday after staying closed for public holidays on Monday and Tuesday.

Government bonds were steady in early trade, with the yield on the benchmark 2015 bond dipping half a basis point to 6.75 percent while that for the 2026 bond was flat at 8.52 percent.

The domestic unit has shed nearly 23 percent of its value against the dollar so far this year, largely due to a global sell-off of risky assets over fears of contagion from debt problems in the euro zone.

Barring a surprise recovery in the last few days of the year, it is set for its steepest annual fall since 2008.

Copyright Reuters, 2011