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USDZAR continued to drop on Thursday after a sole winning session in the month-to-date on Wednesday. News about a rebound in South Africa’s economy came at the same time as weaker-than-anticipated economic data from the the U.S. Prospects of a Federal Reserve rate hike in September worsened significantly after the weaker than expected data reading, which helped boost demand for higher-yielding emerging-market assets and in particular, helped power the Rand to rally nearly 6% in September against the background of political uncertainty.
South Africa reaped the benefits of a weak rand in the second quarter, posting an 18.5% surge in exports and a 5.1% decline in imports. The country managed to avoid a recession in the April-June period, as mining and factory output rebounded. A report from the national statistics agency on Tuesday reported that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annualized rate of 3.3 percent on-year, recovering from a 1.2% contraction in the first quarter.
Manufacturing, which accounts for the largest share in South Africa’s GDP at 13%, reported growth of 8.1% compared with the previous quarter, reaching the highest rate of quarterly growth in three years. Meanwhile, mining output recovered from an 18.1% decline in the first quarter to increase by 11.8% in the three months through June.
Given the positive figures released a day earlier, The South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago stated on Wednesday that “the Monetary Policy Committee will be able to revise upwards its annual economic performance estimates at the September meeting”. South Africa’s Central Bank is scheduled to hold its monetary policy meeting on September 22.
The Rand added to its recent gains earlier today after an unexpected rise in Chinese imports. China’s imports rose for the first time in nearly two years in August, suggesting a pick-up in domestic demand and buoying commodity-linked currencies such as the Rand, as China is one of the biggest markets for all commodity producing countries(if not the biggest market).
However, data from Statistics South Africa indicated that manufacturing output expanded only by 0.4% year-on-year in July, well below expectations of 3% advance after rising by a revised 4.7% in June. Factory production was also down 1.5% on a monthly basis last month. The results of the nation’s Q3 business confidence survey on Friday will round up the week for the Rand. Forecasts point to a dip from a reading of 32 points to 30.
The currency has recently been under pressure due to political uncertainty after its respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was summoned by a special unit of the police, in relation to an investigation over the activities of a surveillance unit set up during his time as head of South Africa’s tax agency. Gordhan has not been arrested but his case has put the country in danger of a ratings downgrade to junk level by rating agencies, as he is widely considered to be a progressive policy maker.
Fig: USDZAR D1 Technical Chart
USDZAR penetrated both the short-term and long-term Mas from above, heading back towards the nearly one-year low at 13.19334 after a sharp spike in the second half of August. Obviously bears have taken over the market. The –DI line has already crossed over the +DI from above while the RSI has retreated to 32.14 from the high of 42.52 reached during the recent rally. A short correction yesterday has balanced the market a little and prevented a move into the oversold territory. The RSI is indicating that there is room for the pair to fall further.
Sell Stop at 13.88000, Take profit at 13.64845, Stop loss at 14.08500