Rand shrugs off weak Chinese trade data

THE rand was firmer on Monday morning shrugging off disappointing Chinese trade data.

In dollar terms, exports in January fell 11,2 percent from a year ago, far below the consensus of a 1,8 percent decline. Imports tumbled 18,8 percent from a year ago, below the 3,8 percent decline that had been expected.

At 8.48am the rand was at 15,7954 against the dollar from a previous close of 15,8783.,

Against the euro, the rand was at 17,7267 from 17,8424 and was at 22,9430 against the pound from 23,0251 previously.

The euro was at $1,1222 from $1,1237 previously.

Rand Merchant Bank analysts said trade would be muted with US financial and stocks markets closed for Presidents Day.

“There are limited risks on the day due to the US holiday. Data risks will emerge from Wednesday onwards. Moves today should not be taken to mean that market volatility has gone away,” the analysts said.

On the international front, the dollar rose against the yen on Monday as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe criticised ‘excessively volatile’ currency markets.

Mr Abe said that excessive currency volatility was undesirable and Tokyo would take appropriate action in the exchange rate market as needed.

The prime minister’s comments helped the dollar hit its session high of ¥113,87.

“The dollar was already off its lows but Abe reminded markets that intervention is a possibility,” said Kaneo Ogino, director at foreign exchange research firm Global-Info in Tokyo.

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) took the opportunity of the US dollar’s recent decline to fix its yuan at its highest in more than a month on Monday, hoping to deflect speculation about a possible devaluation.

Perhaps in an effort to head off any adverse reaction from Chinese investors, central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said there was no basis for the yuan to keep depreciating.

Mr Zhou said China would keep the yuan basically stable versus a basket of currencies while allowing greater volatility against the US dollar. –Bdlive/Reuters

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