The rand raced to a more than eight-month high against the dollar on Friday, breaching the R14 mark for the first time since November partly due to data showing the fourth straight monthly trade surplus in June.
The rand climbed more than 1,5% to a session high of R13,89 versus the greenback, its strongest since 20 November, also reflecting broad-based dollar weakness after the release of US GDP data.
The currency breakthrough comes as South Africa announced its petrol price for August would decline by 99c, meaning motorists will pay R12,35/l for unleaded petrol inland and R11,87/l on the coast.
The US economy expanded less than forecast in the second quarter after a weaker start to the year than previously estimated as companies slimmed down inventories and remained wary of investing amid shaky global demand.
GDP rose at a 1,2% annualised rate after a 0,8% advance the prior quarter, commerce department figures showed on Friday in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 2,5% second quarter increase.
South Africa recorded a trade surplus of R12,5bn in June, down from May’s surplus of R18,4bn, the Revenue Bank said on Friday.
“The country’s export market has been doing well this year,” Karl Götte, head of Standard Bank commercial banking, said in a statement on Friday.
He said the 11,3% increase in exports year-to-date was mainly due to the market fluctuations that have been seen globally this year.
“The rand experienced a weak few months at the beginning of the year and has recently improved. The weaker rand provided improved opportunities for exporters to sell their goods,” he said.