Tourism which has developed into an important economic factor over the last years, is not the only industry that benefits from the Rand's weakness. The still very important gold mining sector, which has been put under strong pressure through the decline of the gold price, could also hold itself together due to the fall of the currency.
In 2004 the Rand got much stronger again but lost in 2006, 2007 and sharply in 2008. It is currently trading around 13 Rand to the Euro and arround and 7 Rand to the USD. Nobody can predict at this stage in which direction the currency will move in 2009. The South African Reserve Bank publishes the latest exchange rates daily.
South Africa's Currency
Over the last ten years, the South African Rand has lost approx. half of its value against leading world currencies. In 1998 alone, it fell about 25 per cent against the US Dollar, British Pound and Japanese Yen. This occurred despite the fact that the currency was protected by high interest rates (up to 20 %) and despite decreasing inflation. Many investors, who had optimistically bought Rand bonds, came to feel the decline of the currency painfully.
It is doubtful whether the rating of the Rand was justified by economic indicators and many serious analysts considered the South African currency to be strongly under-rated. The Rand had become a favourite object for speculators.