The rand tumbled to its weakest in three months on Thursday, as emerging market currencies were hit by a wave of risk aversion as fears about global growth intensified.
At 9am the rand was 0.6 percent weaker at R14.55 to the dollar, recovering slightly after sliding to R14.89 in the overnight session, its weakest since October 9.
The rand was on the backfoot following weak factory data from China on Wednesday and saw losses deepen in tandem with a majority of global currencies after Apple said sales in China and other emerging markets fell last quarter.
Apple’s share price fell after chief executive Tim Cook warned shareholders that iPhone sales were slowing faster than expected. Cook said that the company did not foresee the magnitude of the “economic deceleration”, especially in China.
The news helped trigger a “flash crash” in currency markets, stoking nervousness about global growth already dampened by the ongoing trade wrangle between the United States and China.
Despite this early trade low, the rand gained momentum to trade 0.3% weaker against the dollar by midday. It sat at R14.50 to the dollar at the time.
The JSE All Share index, which suffered along with European and Asian stocks on Wednesday amid concerns around a possible slowdown in China, was up 0.8% by midday, with all major indices in positive territory.
The rand opened on Thursday at R14.46 to the dollar.
- Additional reporting Fin24