Rand holds firmer on improved risk appetite

The local currency was at R18.13 per dollar in early trade.
Image: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg

The rand gained against the US dollar early on Thursday, as improved risk appetite overshadowed the imminent exclusion of the country’s government bonds from the World Government Bond Index (WGBI).

At 0705 GMT, the rand traded at R18.13 per dollar, up 0.09% from its previous close and its strongest since April 14.

Global risk sentiment has been lifted with a number of major economies readying to re-open their economies and encouraging early results from a Covid-19 treatment trial.

Bianca Botes, executive director at Peregrine Treasury Solutions, said the rand’s rally has grown as optimism continued to overshadow the imminent rebalance of the WGBI.

South Africa’s government bonds were set to formally fall out of the WGBI at the end of April, after Moody’s last month became the last major ratings agency to revoke the country’s investment grade status.

Analysts say most of the selling, by active funds, seems to have already happened, while a jump in yields on the country’s debt has drawn investors looking for higher returns.

In fixed income, the yield on the 10-year government bond due in 2030 was down 8.5 basis points to 10.435% in early trade.

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