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Rand firmer as investors venture into risky assets

Oct 10 2016 19:34

Johannesburg - The rand firmed against the dollar on Monday as investors, seeing less chance of a victory by Republican nominee Donald Trump in next month's US presidential election, ventured into riskier emerging markets.

Stocks were little changed, failing to get direction from any news. By 15:31 GMT the rand was trading 0.71% firmer at 13.7675 per dollar compared with Friday's New York close.

The rand was the second strongest emerging market currency after the Mexican peso, which surged as investors trimmed the chances of Trump winning.

Trump's campaign rhetoric has triggered uncertainty about what his administration would mean for US foreign policy, trade, the economy and even governance at the Federal Reserve.

However, nagging concerns about South Africa's ailing economy are likely to cap any significant rand gains, with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan expected to slash 2016 growth prospects in his budget review later this month.

"With this month’s medium term budget speech and a possible downgrade in December looming, the rand could find itself under the cosh for the remainder of the year," Standard Bank trader Warrick Butler said.

On the stock market, the benchmark Top-40 index was flat at 45 118 points while the All-Share index inched up 0.03% to 51 675 points.

"It has been a low volume day. We are not really getting a lot of direction from overseas," said Afrifocus securities portfolio manager Ferdi Heyneke.

Trade was muted with around 208 million shares changing hands, compared with last year's daily average of 296 million.

In fixed income, government bonds ended a tepid session largely flat, with the yield for the 2026 benchmark closing unchanged at 8.695%.

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