THE rand rallied against the dollar for the first time this week after President Jacob Zuma pledged support for Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, in his ongoing battles with the Hawks.
“Things could have been worse if he had kept quiet. At least there is less panic as a result,” Bidvest Bank chief currency dealer Ion de Vleeschauwer said.
The rand rallied through the R14/$ mark before pulling back at midday, suggesting a degree of nervousness among investors after the drama-filled week, during which the local currency also blew out against the euro and pound.
The sustainably weaker rand poses a threat to the inflation outlook and may encourage further interest rate increases at a time when the economy was hardly growing.
“President Jacob Zuma wishes to express his full support and confidence in the minister of finance and emphasises the fact that the minister has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing,” Presidency spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said.
Gordhan, through the advice of his lawyers, on Wednesday rebuffed the request by the crime-busting unit for him to appear at the unit by Thursday.
The rand was at R14.0836 against the dollar from R14.1532 at the previous close.
It was at R15.9044 against the euro from R15.9414 previously‚ and at R18.6208 against the pound from R18.7304 previously.
The euro was at $1.1293, from $1.1263 at its last settlement.
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