JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand firmed against the dollar early on Monday as ratings downgrade fears eased after Moody’s said late on Friday it would not publish a review of the sovereign debt rating as indicatively scheduled.
The currency was further supported by a broader boost to investors’ risk appetite following positive Chinese factory gauges and signs of progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks.
At 0615 GMT, the rand traded at 14.3275 per dollar, 1.26 percent firmer than its New York close on Friday.
“The rand is demonstrating some of the market’s relief following no action by Moody’s last week, with it clawing back some ground during the overnight trade on Sunday,” said Bianca Botes, a corporate treasury manager at Peregrine Treasury Solutions.
South African markets on Friday were on edge over the impending review, with some economists concerned that a power crisis will cost the country its last investment-grade rating and lead to the outflow of billions of dollars.
Moody’s rates South Africa’s foreign and local currency debt on their lowest level of investment grade at ‘Baa3’, with a stable outlook.
In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark instrument due in 2026 dipped 6 basis points to 8.55 percent in early trade.