Johannesburg - The rand touched a two-and-half month high on Tuesday amid relief at a lack of surprises from an ANC internal leadership election and growing hopes for a deal to resolve the US fiscal cliff.
The rand was at R8.5595/$ at 08:47, 0.6% stronger than Friday's New York close. South African markets were closed on Monday due to a public holiday.
Zuma looks set to win re-election at this week's conference in Mangaung, almost certainly giving him another five-year term in 2014 as president.
Millionaire businessman and former miners' leader Cyril Ramaphosa is also firm favourite to become his deputy president - an appointment seen as broadly positive for business and investment.
In the United States, President Barack Obama met with Republican House of Representatives speaker John Boehner on Monday, with both sides showing a willingness to compromise on a package to avert tax hikes and spending cuts in January.
"The fiscal cliff talks that happened yesterday started to pick up a bit of pace," said Brigid Taylor, head of institutional sales at Nedbank.
"Mangaung over the weekend didn't change any form of policy in South Africa, so overall positive sentiment across the board driving the rand a lot stronger," she added.
Government bonds were steady, with the 2026 and 2015 papers trading at yields of 7.34% and 5.42% respectively.
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