South Africa’s rand falls as virus fears hit risk appetite

South African Rand (Image Getty)
South African bank notes featuring images of former South African President Nelson Mandela (R) are displayed next to the American dollar notes in this photo illustration in Johannesburg, file. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

South Africa’s rand fell to its weakest in more than three weeks on Monday, as fears about the economic fallout from rising COVID-19 cases dented investors’ appetite for riskier assets.

At 0625 GMT, the rand was 0.47% weaker at 17.1400 per dollar, its weakest since July 8.

Signs of a resurgence in global infections in recent days have tamed global demand for assets perceived as risky, putting pressure on the rand, which was already vulnerable because of the frailty of South Africa’s economy.

In South Africa, confirmed cases of COVID-19 crossed half a million on Saturday.

“Markets continue to dwell on uncertainty regarding trade tensions, U.S. elections and recovery, as well as rising virus numbers,” said Bianca Botes, executive director at Peregrine Treasury Solutions.

Government bonds weakened, and the yield on the benchmark bond due in 2030 rose 9 basis points to 9.335%.