Why The South African Rand Is World’s Most Politically Volatile Currency

By Kevin Mwanza Published: November 8, 2016, 9:39 am
The South African rand (Image: JBay News)

South African Rand edged Mexico’s Peso as the world’s  most politically volatile currency, driven by political events in Africa’s biggest economy that have pit President Jacob Zuma and his Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan.

Investors have used Peso’s fluctuations to rate Donald Trump’s chances of being elected the president of United States of America in an election set for early Wednesday morning.

“The rand is a real measure of the political risk premium. You buy the rand or you sell the rand for nine, 10 days or one week, because you know it can flip very rapidly, just on the politics,” Guillaume Tresca, a senior emerging –market strategist at Credit Agricole South Africa’s corporate and investment banking unit, told Bloomberg.

In Mexico, Trump’s turbulent rankings in opinion polls in the past three months saw the currency take records falls against the Dollar.

In late September, Peso took a record dip against the dollar, when opinion polls indicated a tight race between Trump and Democrat’s Hilary Clinton.  It however, rebounded when Clinton gained the lead after the first debate, Reuters reported.

Last month, Rand fell by 3.5 percent against the dollar, after the police issued arrest warrants for Gordhan over fraud charges while in-charge of South African Revenue Services (SARS).

Critics saw the charges as politically-driven by Zuma and his supporters within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) as efforts to oust him from office in one of the nation’s fiercest fights for control of the Treasury.

Last week, it gained 2.5 percent, the highest since September after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) dropped the charges, Mail & Guardian reported.

The release of the ‘State Capture’ report which has linked Zuma to numerous corrupt involvement, last week saw the rand surge to R13.60 against the dollar.

Market analysts also linked rand’s recovery to the increased chances of Trump winning the US presidential race, City Press reported.

In April, it hit a record high of R14.1650 against the dollar after a court overturned a 2009 decision to drop 783 corruption charges against Zuma.

The Peso has been used by investors as major indicators on Trump’s chances in the world’s most eagerly awaited presidential election.

The Peso and Rand are some of the world’s currencies to take major hits from volatile political events in recent times.

In June, the Sterling Pound fell to a record low of $1.35 per dollar more than 30 years, after Britain voted in favor of an exit from the European Union (EU), Financial Times reported.

Sign up for the AFKInsider newsletter — the most compelling business news you need to know from Africa and the African diaspora, delivered straight to your inbox.

Tags: , , , ,