South Africa’s rand inches weaker ahead of ANC leadership election

PUBLISHED: Fri, 15 Dec 2017 10:31:03 GMT

South Africa’s rand dipped in early trade on Friday as investors avoided taking large positions and braced for the outcome of the ruling African National Congress’s leadership elections on the weekend.

Photo: Wikipedia.

At 0645 GMT, the rand was 0.17 percent weaker at 13.5100 per dollar, compared with a close of 13.4875 overnight in New York.

In the previous session, the currency climbed to a one-week best, as bearish sentiment eased after the current account deficit narrowed slightly in the third quarter, pointing to a continued economic recovery after a recession in the first half of the year.

The currency, however, lost some momentum in Asian trade and low liquidity also kept the currency within recent range.

“The rand has savoured a particularly robust performance over the week thus far, however against the uncertainty going into the weekend, price action is likely to be cautious,” said head analyst at Nedbank Reezwana Sumad.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) will announce current President Jacob Zuma’s successor as party leader on Sunday, with a large rand move in either direction expected depending on who clinches the top spot.

The price of forward rand contracts ending just after the conference has climbed all week, indicating both long and short positioning, but traders said bets were skewed in favour of a rand rally.

Stocks were set to open lower at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 futures index down 0.57 percent.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was flat at 9.265 percent.

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