This is the current USD-ZAR mid-market exchange rate. The Total Cost of buying foreign currency in the above table is calculated as the sum of all fees and the exchange rate margin, which is the difference between the provider's exchange rate and the mid-market USD-ZAR exchange rate.
Whenever you are researching a particular exchange rate you are actually interested in two currencies as the value of a currency must always be quoted relative to a second currency.
So it follows that if you are determining the best time to transact, in this case the USD vs ZAR, you should pay attention to both United States Dollar and South African Rand news and forecasts.
26-January-19: 2018 was a reasonable year for the dollar. Measured by the US Dollar Index, the greenback appreciated by 4 percent, which was much better than 2017’s 10 percent loss. It was, though, something of a stuttering end to 2018 and the dollar has had mixed fortunes in early 2019.
In December, after lifting US interest rates to 2.25-2.5 percent, the Fed lowered its expectations for future hikes due to so-called “cross currents” (China, Brexit, trade wars etc.). Skepticism among analysts over future Fed hikes has for some time been the main reason for dollar pessimism for 2019, but now, there is also the prospect of a US economic slowdown to contend with.
“A slowdown in the economy is likely to weigh on USD particularly in the second half of this year,” a CIBC researcher said in January.
Of the same opinion was an expert at ING, who argued that the dollar is soon to “embark on a gradual long-term bearish trend.”
January’s extended US government shutdown also has dollar-negative ramifications. Not only is the shutdown likely to hit first-quarter GDP growth, disagreements within Congress bode poorly for the future of potentially inflationary fiscal spending.
18-January-19: 2018 was a grim year for the rand: it lost 14 percent of its value against the US dollar, lost nearly 10 percent against the euro, and lost 4.4 percent against the Australian dollar.
Though the rand has had a good start to 2019 (by January-18 it was up 2-3 percent against many major currencies), its outlook took a disappointing turn in January following a dovish meeting of the South African Reserve Bank.
At its meeting, the SARB pointed to significant improvements to the inflation outlook in South Africa, and indicated that this meant less of an incentive to raise interest rates. The SARB predicted only one further increase in rates between now and the end of 2021, down from a predicted three increases in November.
In addition, 2019’s general election will undoubtedly add uncertainty given the divisions within South Africa's ruling ANC party, and uncertainty usually leads to lower currency prices.
In mid-January, year-end forecasts offered by TradingEconomics.com signalled rand weakness worth nearly 10 percent from levels at the time of writing. USD/ZAR will end 2019 at 15.31, TE has said, and EUR/ZAR will end at 17.14.
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