Rand firms in early trade, may break R15/$

The rand strengthened against the dollar in early trade on Wednesday, threatening to break through the R15/$ level for the first time in a week. 

The local currency opened at R15.05/$ and reached R15.02 to the greenback at 10:44. 

Andre Botha of TreasuryONE said in a morning note that while the rand was on the front foot, it still faced headwinds. 

"There is still sanctions talk [by the US against] Russia, trade tensions are still very much in evidence between the US and China, and the Argentinian peso is still on a steep slippery slope," he said.  

He said the local currency may be helped by the fact that the fall in the Turkish lira had stopped for now. Botha said this was due, in part, to expectation that the Turkish Central Bank could in the next few days hike interest rates quite aggressively.

"While Turkey was in some part, the reason why the rand initially weakened could the lira also be, in some bizarre twist of fate, a catalyst for the Rand to strengthen?"

NKC African Economics, in a note to clients, said they expect the rand to trade in a range between R15.00/$ and R15.30/$. 

Local economic data set for release on Wednesday include the business confidence index and retail figures. 

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