The rand was steady near its previous closing levels in early trade on Monday, although it retained its recent weaker bias as a result of emerging-market woes.
RMB analysts said in their morning report that the rand started the year under pressure thanks to Fed tapering, the accompanying rise in US yields and the Turkish political crisis.
“USD/ZAR has traded to 10.70, a post-crisis high, although there should be some relief this morning. EUR/ZAR has already backed off its 14.60 all-time high,” they said.
A Turkish corruption scandal saw the lira weaken 9% over the past month, but it has been stabilising over the past week. However, the weakness spilled over into other emerging-market currencies, including the rand, which fell to its worst level in more than four years against the dollar.
At 8.55am the rand was at R10.6590 to the dollar from its overnight close of R10.6425.
Against the euro, the rand was at R14.4809 from R14.4919 at its previous close and was at R17.4497 against the pound from R17.4953.
The euro was at $1.3586 from $1.3595 at its previous close.
Global markets should be back to full speed this week, although local markets are likely to still experience little lack of liquidity. The data calendar will get busier as the week progresses, with the highlights of the week being the ECB interest rate decision on Thursday and US nonfarm payrolls on Friday, RMB said.
Dow Jones Newswires reported that the euro was mixed in Asia, after it fell to a four-week low against the dollar on Friday and ended the first two trading days of 2014 with a 1% loss.
Europe’s common currency dropped below $1.36 for the first time since December 5, despite data showing a modest improvement in the unemployment situation in Spain, Dow Jones said. Analysts said investors were likely booking profits on their bullish euro positions, which rose over 4% in 2013, ahead of a busy calendar in the coming week. The Federal Reserve is scheduled to release the minutes of its December 17-18 meeting on Wednesday, and the December jobs report is due on Friday.
“There was some profit-taking ahead of [this] week, and clients are on the sidelines,” Bank of New York Mellon senior currency strategist Michael Woolfolk said.
Currencies were still trading in “very illiquid market conditions,” he said, as a snowstorm in the U.S. Northeast kept many traders at home.