Rand hits strongest level since August 2015 as dollar slide boosts EM

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00

The rand was one of the biggest emerging market beneficiaries of the dollar’s slide on Monday morning, hitting its strongest level since August 2015.

Higher interest rates in the US are usually bad news for EM currencies, as they increases investors’ return from relatively safer American assets, but last week’s rate rise was accompanied by less hawkish than expected comments on the speed of future moves, sending the dollar on its longest losing streak since before the US election.

The buck’s slide prompted the best week for EM currencies in six weeks last week, and helped bring the MSCI Emerging Market stocks index to its highest level in almost two years.

The rand strengthened as much as 0.5 per cent on Monday morning, to 12.6505. Despite occasional knock backs – often prompted by president Jacob Zuma’s battles with his finance minister (see the chart above) – it has gained more than 20 per cent in the last twelve months, making it the best-performing currency in the world.

The Korean Won also had a good day, gaining 0.9 per cent to hit its strongest level against the dollar since October, while the Indian Rupee also gained 0.15 per cent.

However, the lira, Mexican peso, Russian rouble and Israeli shekel all weakened.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't copy articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.