Question NW79 to the Minister of Finance

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08 August 2019 - NW79

Profile picture: Khawula, Ms MS

Khawula, Ms MS to ask the Minister of Finance

Has the National Treasury investigated the impact of the manipulation of the Rand by various commercial banks, in particular ABSA, as found by the Competition Commission; if not, why not; if so, what were the findings? NW1036E


No, the National Treasury has not investigated such impact, as neither the National Treasury nor the South African Reserve Bank have any evidence that any bank has taken part in currency manipulation, as indicated in our previous replies to oral question 57 and 245 submitted on 29 March 2019, and will repeat the essence of those replies below.

We are not aware that the Competition Commission has made any finding on the manipulation of the rand, but is investigating a case of price fixing and market allocation in the trading of foreign currency pairs involving the Rand, which it has referred to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution. The currency market is a deep and liquid market, and it is difficult to determine any material or long-lasting impact of any one transaction on the level or value of the currency.

It is important for members to differentiate between the impact of any transaction on consumers and the impact on the value of the rand – the investigation before the Competition Commission appears to be related more to the conduct of bank traders towards clients, rather than providing evidence of their affecting the actual value of the rand.

We should all await the outcome of the Competition Commission’s investigation before acting on them. I am also happy to invite the Honourable Member to provide any other evidence he may have on any currency manipulation to the Commission and/or National Treasury.

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