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Rand, stocks firmer as risk aversion eases

Local unit recovered as emerging markets took advantage of limited action ahead of US jobs data.

South Africa’s rand firmed against the dollar on Wednesday, riding the momentum of a return of risk appetite to move further away from record lows ahead of trade data later in the session.

Stocks rallied in early trade along with Asian peers, rebounding strongly from a recent sell-off, with the Top-40 index opening 1.33% higher at 44,750 points.

Government bonds turned firmer as yields fell across the curve, with the benchmark 2026 issue shedding 7.5 basis point to 8.52 percent.

By 07:12 GMT the rand had gained more than one percent to 13.8355 per dollar after volatile trade had seen the unit breach the pivotal 14.00 mark overnight.

The currency recovered as emerging markets took advantage of limited action ahead of US jobs figures due on Friday.

“The market was caught long dollars and the inevitable reversal came as we moved down to 13.950,” said Oliver Alwar, a trader at Standard Bank.

The rand would struggle to hold on gains in the run up to the U.S. non-farm payrolls release as bets on the timing of a rate hike by the Federal Reserve continued to generate uncertainty.

“Undoubtedly the fate of the currency will be linked to the NFP data on Friday,” analysts at Nedbank said in a note to clients, referring to the U.S. jobs data, predicting the unit would trade in a range of 13.80 and 14.10 this week.

The rand hardly reacted to private sector credit demand data out earlier in the session, which ticked up to 8.6% year-on-year in August according to the central bank. 

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