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Forex and Political Sentiment Moving the South African Rand

Recent trading in the USD/ZAR has become bearish and highlights the behavioral sentiment shifts taking place within South Africa, this as outlooks and perspectives create opportunities for financial institutions and speculators.


South Africa politics have generated optimistic selling of the USD/ZAR in the past week and a half as the ANC has agreed to a National Unity Government coalition. Financial institutions pulled the USD/ZAR higher and to the 19.00000 realm in the second week of June as concerns grew the African National Congress could decide on a hard-left coalition in the nervous days following the election results. But those fears disappeared when it became clear the ANC would actually undertake a working association with the Democratic Alliance. The USD/ZAR began to selloff. Yesterday's ability to test values below the 18.00000 level highlight the price velocity that optimistic outlooks have generated the past handful of trading days. Not all of South Africa's problems are going to vanish magically, but there is a hope that better days are ahead.


As simplistic as it sounds, financial institutions trade based on their outlooks and they take an approach with much longer timeframe considerations compared to day traders. In a sense the price of the USD/ZAR isn't a reflection of what is, it is a mirror of what can be. The trend lower will now run into a test as financial institutions question the move lower that has been attained the past week and a half, compared to realities which still have to be handled per the existing problems that remain. The African National Congress and Democratic Alliance aren't natural bedfellows. They will certainly clash regarding fiscal transparency, day to day power sharing as the nation and municipalities are managed, and geopolitical alliances will be questioned.


While the USD/ZAR has definitively traded lower and is testing intriguing support, optimistic sellers who have a mid-term outlook will look at one year charts and know the currency pair has traded at significantly lower values in July of 2023. Day traders should not get overly ambitious, because it will be nearly impossible for most short-term speculators to hold onto a position longer than a day or two because of transaction fees most trading platforms charge for overnight positions. However, the notion that financial institutions will look at the lower values seen technically about eleven months ago, and consider the potential of 'what can be' might start to affect the USD/ZAR more over the coming weeks and months.


There are warning signs that need to be monitored, there is already talk among media outlets in South Africa that the ANC and DA are in disagreement regarding the working relationship they share and what type of influence will be allowed from the junior partners - which includes the Democratic Alliance and at least four other smaller political parties. Nothing is for free in politics. Power and the ability to govern will need pragmatic approaches by all members of the National Unity Government in order for it to remain viable. The coming days and weeks are sure to create headlines which will make financial institutions occasionally nervous and create support levels which sometimes look very durable.


Perhaps the best barometer for short-term traders of the USD/ZAR will be resistance technically which is tested in the coming days. The USD/ZAR is trading near the 18.14200 ratio as of this writing. U.S traders will be returning from their holiday celebrations yesterday and increase Forex volumes which could cause uneasy reversals. However, if the 18.20000 level proves to be durable resistance near-term, it may signal financial institutions may believe additional positive impetus will create more selling. Behavioral sentiment will remain nervous in South Africa, but if optimistic outlooks remain the USD/ZAR could move lower again. The search for equilibrium in the USD/ZAR is not over and the coming weeks will be worth watching.

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