JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s rand weakened sharply on Thursday along with other emerging market currencies as concerns over the economic impact of the coronavirus intensified after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a pandemic.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s surprise decision to ban travel from Europe to reduce the impact of the virus added more pressure to trading, as disruptions to trade and the world economy emerged.
At 0645 GMT the rand was 1.12% weaker at 16.3850, tumbling overnight in frantic selling across a score of financial assets.
The WHO described the outbreak as a pandemic for the first time on Wednesday, though an official said the move does not change the agency’s response.
Trump announced on Wednesday the United States will suspend all travel from Europe, except from the United Kingdom, to the United States for 30 days starting on Friday.
However, Trump said trade will not be affected by the restrictions.
Bonds also suffered, with the yield on the benchmark 2030 government issue rising 14.5 basis points to 9.415%. – Reuters Africa