South Africa’s rand is the world’s best performing – and best looking – currency

This was some interesting news (via Bloomberg):

South Africa’s rand, the world’s best-performing major currency this year, may rally another 4 percent if it breaks through 8.23 per dollar and stays there, based on technical analysis by Barclays Plc-owned Absa Capital.

Candlestick charting shows the rand closed stronger than its opening levels everyday last week, suggesting it’s “fighting” to appreciate further, said Judy Padayachee, a technical analyst at Johannesburg-based Absa. Even so, it has yet to remain stronger than the so-called “resistance” level of 8.23 per dollar, according to Padayachee.

Good for them. But thanks to this news I was pleasantly surprised at how awesome the rand looks. Buffalo power!


The notes were redesigned after the end of apartheid in 1994. Here is what the old notes looked like:


You can find out more about South Africa’s currency (with similarly intense drawings of lions and rhinos) here.

26 thoughts on “South Africa’s rand is the world’s best performing – and best looking – currency”

  1. As we know from today’s strong Yen, best performing or strong currency doesn’t always mean the country’s economy is in good shape. The Rand is artificially strong due to the high interest rate earned in a carry trade.

    Carry trades are fun until the currency moves against your position and you get cleaned out. I learned the hard way shorting the Yen in a Oz carry trade. Once the Yen turned strong, because Oz started lowering their rates, there was a dark cloud over looming over head.

    On the Rand’s appearance, I agree its pretty. Funny thing though with all the people carry trading the rand now, they never see the actual currency notes. Its just numbers on a bank statement.

  2. If its good enough for the rand, its good enough for me. I say the US should vote off all the white people on its currency too in favor of animals

  3. Human or animal, I just wish they would do something about the new design so that the picture doesn’t look like the stippled portraits from Barnes & Noble…

    By the way, I agree with David. As much as our friends the Japanese are responsible for the bucket of awesome that is candle charts, technical analysis itself is about as reliable as a Ouija board. Or Jim Cramer.

    Joe’s Krugerrand’s are at least gold, which you can always melt down and sell to the South Asians in the springtime.

  4. Good call on the Krugerrands.

    America has sharp looking eagles on its currency. Japan has a mythical firebird goddess statue and nice scenery. We need more animals!!

  5. Would it help if some of the Presidents were party animals? Franklin wanted the turkey as the US national bird – fancy having a few of them on your bills? Actually I don’t care who you put on there, but try for some *colour*, US Mint…..
    As for gold coins, I’d like the Aussie 1kg one…..

  6. (Okay, the Ultimate Currency: the girl from the Cook Islands note riding the SA Cape Buffalo on a 1kg Krugerrand….)

  7. Animals on the bank note?Too PC in my book.
    How about Michale Caine in the redcoat standing upfront and storming Zulu warriors in behind.or vice versa.

  8. >How about Michale Caine in the redcoat standing upfront and storming Zulu warriors in behind.

    Well, many of us colonials still have the Queen on our money. Same thing, no?

    In fact when this guy started turning up on coins in the Cook Islands, I heard there was much consternation because the queen was on the other side. I have never tried spinning a Cook Island’s one dollar coin to see what happens, but I don’t imagine the result would be too pretty.

    Animals on the bank note?Too PC in my book.

    Dude, it is a native chick riding a shark! And besides doesn’t Japan have the Kinkakuji chicken on its currency? But perhaps you are right. Maybe we should take a leaf out of the Fijian book and celebrate great feats of modernisation.

  9. (Although I shouldn’t be too sarcastic. New Zealand has a tractor on one of its bills.)

  10. How about having Nelson Mandela on one side and Morgan Freeman on the other?
    You’ll notice they don’t look alike very much,nontheless Clint Eastwood is going to make a film on the man with his buddy Freeman and he’ll get an Oscar for that.

    (But then again,Forrest Whitaker didn’t look like Idi Amin at all either.Hollywood…)

  11. And Bryce.I’m very much aware about Cook Island.I was about to go there for six month excavation tour with my professor had I not gotten the job I’m wokring now.
    And I heard stories from multiple senpais who went to their tour of duty that you don’t get to see such skinny chick in the island.Sharks would die instantly once the island women steps on the back, they say.

  12. Aceface – from what I have heard, you are dead right.
    Bryce – I think the chicken is from the Byodoin, not the Kinkakuji, assuming you are referring to the bird on the 10,000 yen note.

  13. >And I heard stories from multiple senpais who went to their tour of duty that you don’t get to see such skinny chick in the island.

    Nah, not true, I’m afraid, but it might depend on the island. Try Aitutaki. (It also might depend on the marital status.)

    As for byoudoin, I have to say, those chickens look similar.

  14. “Try Aitutaki. (It also might depend on the marital status.)”

    Damn,I should have believed the bank note then.However my marital status won’t allow me to take Gauguin-esque life in the south seas now….

  15. According to WHO, at their ‘infobase’, there is a 74.5% prevalence of obesity among Cook Islands women 20 and above.

  16. I also found this in the New Zealand Herald:
    “Pacific Island nations have the most overweight people in the world, according to the most recent estimates by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
    Eight out of the ten of the “fattest” countries are in the Pacific, the research found.
    The top four – Nauru, Micronesia, the Cook Islands and Tonga – all have more than 90 per cent of their population defined as overweight.”
    Wednesday Feb 21, 2007
    The Cooks is third in the world, at 90%.
    (The WHO data I referenced above appears to be a bit outdated.)

  17. But that’s what makes reading this blog so enjoyable. A lot of the most interesting stuff comes from the tangents.

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