South Africa’s Competition Commission has announced that it has opened a probe into price fixing by 11 banks, following in the wake of other regulators globally. Among the banks named in the complaint are BNP Paribas, Barclays, Standard Chartered, J.P.Morgan South Africa, and Standard New York Securities.
The South African Reserve Bank stated that the alleged market rigging occurred outside the country. While few of the banks named were in a position to comment today, traders in South Africa were telling local media that they believed something must have warranted the investigation’s launch.
South Africa has initiated previous investigations into manipulation of the forex markets, in partcular focusing on a fall of over 37% in the rand in 2001. The Competition Commission, which specialises in anti-trust investigations, said that currency manipulation could artificially distort the rand in relation to other mainstream currencies. The move was being broadly welcomed as evidence that the country is still taking regulation of financial markets seriously.
The rand has dropped 43% against the USD in the last three years. It accounted for 1.1% of global forex market turnover in 2013.