Rand falls on cabinet reshuffle report; stocks down

PUBLISHED: Fri, 27 Jan 2017 17:31:15 GMT

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 27 (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand weakened on Friday, hurt by a stronger dollar and by media reports that President Jacob Zuma was considering firing ministers who opposed him and backed calls for his resignation.

Stocks also ended lower, led by financials such as Barclays Africa Group and FirstRand.

At 1512 GMT, the rand traded at 13.4600 per dollar, down 0.71 percent from its New York close on Thursday. The rand weakened more than 1.5 percent to 13.6000/$ earlier in the session.

Government bonds also weakened. The yield on the benchmark bond maturing in 2026 rose 10 basis points to 8.86 percent.

“The reaction has come off headlines that President Zuma told the (ruling party’s) National Executive Committee that any ministers who defy him will be fired,” ETM market analyst Ricardo Da Camara said.

Zuma rattled markets in December 2015 when he fired his respected finance minister in favour of a relatively unknown member of parliament.

Political turmoil has also rattled financial markets, after an anti-graft watchdog last year alleged influence-peddling involving Zuma, who has denied any wrongdoing.

On the stock market, the Top-40 index was down 0.75 percent to 46,146.76 while the broader all-share fell 0.81 percent to 52,973.83.

Barclays Africa fell nearly 5 percent to 156 rand and FirstRand was down almost 4 percent to 50.40 rand. (Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo, editing by Larry King)

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