South Africa’s rand firmed in early trade on Monday, riding a wave of demand for risk assets spurred by hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine and optimism arising from the prospects for a Biden presidency in the United States.
At 0645 GMT the rand ZAR=D3 was quoted at 15.4800 per dollar, 0.2% firmer than Friday’s closing level of 15.5100.
Early trade in Asia reflected the recent risk-on sentiment that has lifted the rand an eight-month best last week, with robust economic data from China and Japan keeping investors optimistic about a recovery in global growth. focus is expected to switch to South Africa’s economic situation later in the week, as retail sales data will be released, the central bank will decide policy interest rates, and Standard & Poors and Moody’s will complete credit rating reviews on Friday.
“How these events play out could very well determine whether the USD-ZAR is able to sustain breaks below 15.50, or if it will settle in a range of 15.50-16.00 towards the backend of November,” said investment economists at ETM Analytics in a note.
“Barring any major shocks this week, the former appears the more likely outcome.”
Bonds were also firmer, with the yield on the benchmark 2030 ZAR2030= down 3.5 basis points to 8.87%.
In equities, mobile operator Vodacom VODJ.J reported a 15.7% rise in half-year earnings to 532 cents from 460 cents a year earlier. giant Sasol SOLJ.J said on Monday it had brought the last of seven units at its Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP) into operation after a fire.