South Africa's rand on the slide
The rand has resumed its slide against the dollar – don't expect a recovery anytime soon.
After a breather lasting a few months, the South African rand has resumed its slide against the dollar. It has now lost 13% against the greenback this year, and is close to a five-year low around R11. Don't expect a sustained recovery any time soon.
"The great dollar rally of 2014 drives everything before it," says John Cairns of Rand Merchant Bank. Higher US interest rates mean that liquidity leaves risky emerging economies and heads back to the US.
That's especially awkward for states with large external, or current account, deficits: these must be covered with foreign capital. South Africa's current-account deficit has reached 6.2% of GDP. Jitters over higher US interest rates caused rand weakness last year and in early 2014.
But there are other factors weighing on the rand, says the FT's Andrew England. The economy's momentum has sagged amid reduced demand for commodities and strikes in the mining sector. So there is scant scope for higher interest rates to entice foreign money back into the economy.
Uncertainty over the identity of the next governor of the central bank, the South African Reserve Bank, and whether he or she might be susceptible to political interference, isn't helping either. The rand sell-off is set to continue.