South African rand steady, all eyes on Zuma exit talks

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand steadied against the dollar early on Thursday, with market participants closely watching talks in the governing party over the political future of President Jacob Zuma.

At 0645 GMT, the rand traded at 12.0450 per dollar, not far off its New York close of 12.0650 on Wednesday.

Zuma was in talks with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) leader Cyril Ramaphosa over a transition of power after calls for him to resign as head of state.

Zuma, in power since 2009 and beset by corruption allegations, has been in a weakened position since Deputy President Ramaphosa replaced him as ANC leader in December.

“Local focus remains on the presidency. The latest talk is that President Zuma could vacate his office “within days” but it remains hard to know what to believe,” Rand Merchant Bank analyst John Cairns said in a note.

Stocks were set to open flat at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 Futures Index largely unchanged.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was up 3.5 basis points to 8.435 percent.

(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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