South Africa’s rand steadies, stocks set to open flat

JOHANNESBURG   – South Africa’s rand steadied against the dollar early on Monday, but hovered near six-month lows as prospects of higher U.S. interest rates dented appetite for emerging markets assets.

At 0645 GMT, the rand traded at 13.7200 per dollar, largely unchanged from its close of 13.7100 on Friday and not far off a six-months low of 13.8125 touched in the previous session.

The rand fell after U.S. jobs data reinforced the view that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates before the end of the year.

Expectations of higher U.S. interest rate subdue investors’ appetite for emerging markets assets, which offer higher returns but carry more risk.

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Analysts said market focus was also on local political risks ahead of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) conference in December to pick a new party leader.

“Today we have a U.S holiday and as a result markets across the board are unlikely to approach the trading session with much by way of enthusiasm,” Nedbank analysts said in a note. “Locally the focus remains firmly on the ANC and the various permutations regarding the succession battle.”

Stocks were set to open flat at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 futures index largely unchanged.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was up 0.5 basis points to 8.71 percent. (Reuters)

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