The South African rand hit another five-year low against the dollar on Monday before rebounding, but it may lose more as the U.S. Federal Reserve reduces the monetary stimulus that has supported emerging markets for the last few years.
The rand and other emerging currencies such as India’s rupee fell sharply in 2013 as investors began anticipating the scaling back of the U.S. central bank’s money-printing programme.
On Monday the rand hit a session-low of 10.7360, its weakest since November 2008 according to Reuters data, before recovering slightly to 10.6440 by 1541 GMT, up 0.2 percent from Friday’s close.
“It’s been a bit of a rough ride for the rand in December and it looks like January is not starting off particularly well,” said Ion de Vleeschauwer, chief dealer at Bidvest Bank.
“It’s all to do with the stance of the Fed and potential tapering to be increasing this year,” he said, adding that the rand should find support at 10.8000.
The Fed decided in December to reduce its asset buying by $10 billion to $75 billion a month. The minutes of that meeting, which are due out on Wednesday, could hint at the timing and pace of any further reductions.
Government bonds weakened slightly on Monday, with the yields on the 2026 government bond and the 2015 paper each adding 1 basis point to 8.285 percent and 6.22 percent respectively.
External demand for local debt has remained subdued in recent weeks, with offshore investors selling nearly 1.7 billion rand in bonds last week, according to the latest data from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.