South African rand firmer, stocks set to open higher

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand firmed against the dollar in early trade on Friday, holding at its best levels since mid-2015, as expectations the new leader of the ruling ANC would rejuvenate the economy lifted sentiment.

At 0643 GMT, the rand traded at 11.9000 per dollar, 0.19 percent firmer than its New York close on Thursday.

The rand has surged since Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa won the race to succeed Jacob Zuma as ANC leader last month, putting him in pole position to become the country’s next president.

Ramaphosa, who has promised to fight corruption and boost economic growth, told a news conference in Davos on Thursday that investors had warmed to the changes that the South African delegation had highlighted in the country.

Stocks were set to open higher at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 futures index up 0.3 percent.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond was up 0.5 basis points to 8.43 percent.

(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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