S.Africa's rand weakens 1.5 pct after watchdog comments over cenbank


PRETORIA, June 19 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand <ZAR=>
fell more than 1.5 percent on Monday after Public Protector
Busisiwe Mkhwebane recommended changes to the constitution to
force the central bank to promote economic growth rather than
currency and price stability.
    By 1222 GMT, the rand was trading 1.44 percent weaker to the
dollar at 12.9900, having hit 13.0075.
    Mkhwebane said at a news conference that the primary
objective of the South African Reserve Bank should be to promote
balanced and sustainable economic growth, rather than to target
inflation, as it is now.
    It is unclear why Mkhwebane, a constitutionally mandated
anti-corruption watchdog, should have made the comments, which
alarmed currency traders.
    "They want to initiate changes to alter the primary
objective of the Reserve Bank. Some of the suggestions being to
remove the reference to protect the value of the currency and
all this has caused a knee-jerk reaction," said Andre Botha,
Treasury One currency dealer.

 (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg and Olwethu Boso; Writing by
James Macharia; Editing by Ed Cropley)
 ((james.macharia@thomsonreuters.com; Tel: +27 11 775 3168;
Reuters Messaging: james.macharia.thomsonreuters@reuters.net))


This article appears in: Politics , Stocks , World Markets

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