Bloomberg News

Rand Declines as Commodities Fall on China GDP Data

April 13, 2012

The rand weakened, poised for a second weekly drop, as metals including copper fell after China’s gross domestic product grew less than forecast, raising concern about demand from the largest metals user.

South Africa’s currency retreated 0.6 percent to 7.9174 per dollar as of 10:51 a.m. in Johannesburg. The currency has lost 0.4 percent this week. The yield on the nation’s 6.75 percent bonds due 2021 rose two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 7.95 percent.

China’s economy expanded 8.1 percent in the first three months from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. This was the slowest pace in 11 quarters, and compared with a median estimate of 8.4 percent in a Bloomberg News survey. China is the biggest buyer of South African raw materials, according to government data for 2011.

“The hangover from this morning’s data is likely to weigh on the rand ahead of the weekend, with the bias stacked towards further weakness,” Nomvuyo Guma, a currency strategist at Standard Bank Group Ltd. in Johannesburg, said in e-mailed comments.

Three-month copper dropped as much as 2 percent on the London Metal Exchange. The contract has lost 3.1 percent this week. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of raw materials declined as much as 0.4 percent. Metals and other commodities account for 65 percent of South Africa’s exports, according to government data for 2011.


The currencies of other commodity producers also weakened today, including the Canadian and Australian dollars. South Africa’s benchmark stock index retreated for the first time in three days as raw materials producers including BHP Billiton Ltd. and Sasol Ltd. declined.

The rand’s one-month implied volatility against the dollar rose 10 basis points to 15.1 percent, the highest since March 23. Implied volatility has climbed 75 basis points this week, indicating options traders are expecting wider currency swings in coming weeks.

The yield on South Africa’s $1.5 billion of 4.665 bonds due 2024 dropped for a second day, falling 28 basis points to 4.26 percent, the lowest since March 14, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Gunnion in Johannesburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at

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