South African rand rally continues as Zuma resigns

The South African rand is rising against the US dollar as markets applaud Jacob Zuma’s decision to stand down as the country’s president.

ZAR
Source: Bloomberg

Jacob Zuma stands down

Valentine’s Day 2018 will go down in the South African history books as one to remember, after President Jacob Zuma finally tendered his resignation, averting a vote of no confidence in the National Assembly. The official resignation letter was received by the National Assembly on the morning of Thursday 15 February and new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, will be officially elected in parliament by the afternoon of the same day.

Will South Africa escape a ratings downgrade?

South Africans will be hoping the leadership change inspires better business confidence and helps South Africa miss a ratings downgrade (likely narrowly) from ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service. Moody’s currently has South Africa’s sovereign credit rating (rand denominated) at one notch above sub investment grade, also known as junk, and should the ratings agency decide to downgrade, it would be the third ratings agency to do so, joining Standard & Poor’s (S&P) and Fitch Ratings. The consequence of this would be South Africa’s removal from major global bond indices. This would necessitate large scale selling of rand denominated bonds, from which the country derives around 90% of its debt funding.

A budget speech will be Moody’s last consideration before it releases its review on the country. The finance minister will need to contain expenditure, but also find ways of supporting struggling State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), particularly, but not exclusively, South African Airways (SAA), the South African Postal Service, and power utility Eskom.

Technical analysis: USD/ZAR trend continuation

The reshuffle of the presidency has proved positive for the rand (ZAR), as has the US political situation and Federal Reserve (Fed) decisions. The R11.80/$ mark has now been broken to the downside, which suggests the short-term continuation of the longer-term downtrend.  The favoured historical support target remains at R11.30/$. Traders following this trend might consider using a close above trendline resistance (currently R11.95/$) as a failure or stop loss level for the trade.

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This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited and IG Markets South Africa Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. International accounts are offered by IG Markets Limited in the UK (FCA Number 195355), a juristic representative of IG Markets South Africa Limited (FSP No 41393). South African residents are required to obtain the necessary tax clearance certificates in line with their foreign investment allowance and may not use credit or debit cards to fund their international account.

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