Rand steady as focus shifts to government’s budget

South Africa’s rand was little changed in early trade on Friday, after President Cyril Ramaphosa gave little detail about his plans to address the country’s major challenges in his annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday evening.

“President Ramaphosa’s SONA address had absolutely zero impact on markets. Traders and investors are now waiting for the budget speech in two weeks’ time,” Andre Cilliers, currency strategist at TreasuryONE, said in a research note.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana will present this year’s budget on February 21, laying out the government’s spending priorities, revenue collection measures and updated economic forecasts.

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“The budget later this month … is arguably a more important announcement given that it will contain details on … what the country’s finances look like. Until then, the dollar-rand pair is set to lack clear direction and will likely close the week out around current levels,” ETM Analytics said on Friday.

At 0738 GMT, the rand traded at R18.93 against the dollar.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s Top 40 index was flat.

William Murphy

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