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Markets

South Africa's rand hits 10-month high as risk appetite nudges up

  • Lower interest rates in the United States typically lift demand for higher-yielding assets in emerging markets like South Africa.
Published December 17, 2020

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's rand hit a fresh 10-month high on Thursday as progress on a US fiscal stimulus deal and a pledge by the Federal Reserve to keep rates low until an economic recovery is secure boosted risk appetite.

At 0600 GMT, the rand traded at 14.7950 against the US dollar, 0.15% firmer than its previous close. It was trading at its strongest since Feb. 12.

US congressional negotiators haggled on Wednesday over details of a $900 billion COVID-19 aid bill that is expected to include $600-$700 stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits, causing the dollar to languish near a more than two-year trough.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday vowed to keep funnelling cash into financial markets until the US economic recovery is secure, a promise of long-term help that fell short of some investors' hopes for an immediate move to shore up a recent pandemic-related slide.

Lower interest rates in the United States typically lift demand for higher-yielding assets in emerging markets like South Africa.

In fixed income, the yield on the long-dated 2030 government bond dipped 2.5 basis points to 8.74%.

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