Tue, 19 Jan 2021

The rand continued to strengthen on Friday morning to reach R16.74/$ in early trade, after breaking through the R17/$ barrier two days earlier for the first time since the start of the lockdown in late March.

By 11:00, it was trading 0.6% up on-day at R16.80 to the greenback.

At the start of April, by contrast, the rand was trading near historical lows of over R19 to the dollar.

The local currency on Friday morning rallied on news that the European Central Bank has increased its stimulus programme by €600 million - above market expectations - and had further extended its emergency bond purchasing programme to June 21.

The dollar, in turn, weakened against most currencies.

But analysts have warned the rand's winning streak may be short-lived.

READ | US jobless claims hit 42 million

"Both the euro and the rand are in overbought territory from a technical perspective and the possibility of a retracement in the short term is fairly high," said Andre Botha, senior currency dealer at TreasuryONE.

A key factor impacting dollar strength will be US unemployment and payrolls data, expected on Friday. This follows hot on the heels of Thursday's US jobless claims, which showed another 1.9 million people had filed for unemployment benefits.

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