The South African government says that Standard Chartered colluded with other banks to manipulate the rand. / Photo: Reuters

South Africa's competition watchdog said on Wednesday it has reached a settlement agreement with British bank Standard Chartered over accusations it colluded with other lenders to manipulate the rand.

The Competition Commission said Standard Chartered (SCB) admitted liability in the case and agreed to pay a fine of almost 43 million rand ($2.3 million).

"The Commission welcomes SCB's decision to reach a settlement on this matter and encourages other respondent banks to consider settling the complaint against them," said Commissioner Doris Tshepe.

SCB is one of 28 banks that the watchdog has accused of involvement in a scheme to manipulate the rand-US dollar exchange rate between 2007 and 2013.

Several banks under scrutiny

Traders at the banks communicated on instant messaging platforms to fix bids and offers, and engage in other activities that fell foul of competition rules, the commission said.

The settlement follows a 2017 agreement with Citibank over liability on the same allegations.

It comes as the case involving dozens of local and international banks is being heard by South Africa's Competition Appeal Court.