Bloomberg News

Rand Weakens Against Dollar as G-20 Fails to Boost IMF Backing

November 07, 2011

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The rand weakened as the Group of 20 failed to increase the resources of the International Monetary Fund to fight the debt crisis in Europe, South Africa’s biggest trading partner.

The rand depreciated 0.6 to 7.8947 per dollar at 4:38 p.m. in Johannesburg, leaving the currency down 2.2 percent this week. Against the euro, the rand gained 0.1 percent to 10.8438, extending its five-day advance to 0.9 percent.

Governments are awaiting further details of Europe’s week- old rescue package for Greece before they commit cash, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today in Cannes, France. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou struggled to hold on to power after the largest opposition party rebuffed his overtures to form a national unity government, raising the prospect of elections that could delay aid needed to prevent default.

“At the moment the market is pretty shell-shocked, and traders are keeping minimal positions,” Chris Becker, an analyst at Johannesburg-based Econometrix Treasury Management, said by phone.

The rand rallied the most in a week yesterday against the euro and gained versus the dollar after the European Central Bank unexpectedly cut its benchmark lending rate. Europe is Sa

“Markets are swinging from euphoria to despair on the back of rapidly changing news and rumors,” John Cairns and Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana, currency strategists at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg, said in a research note.

Anglo American Plc’s offer to buy the Oppenheimer family’s 40 percent stake in De Beers for $5.1 billion helped limit the rand’s decline relative to emerging-market peers, according to Econometrix’s Becker. London-based Anglo said it will fund the transaction from cash and an existing credit line.

“It will certainly be rand-supportive, although we don’t know the flow implications yet,” Becker said.

South Africa’s 13.5 percent bonds due 2015 gained for a third day, driving the yield down six basis points, or 0.06 percentage point, to 6.45 percent.

--Editors: Stephen Kirkland, Peter Branton

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Brand in Cape Town at rbrand9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net


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