JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand gained early on Monday on reports of progress in trade talks between China and the United States on the year’s last day of trading.
At 0715 GMT the rand traded at 14.3650 per dollar, up 0.42 percent from its close of 14.4250 on Friday.
Dollar moves were driven mainly by U.S. politics and the tariff war between Beijing and Washington remained the key catalysts for the rand and other emerging-market currencies, with investors cautious in thin-volume trade.
The trade war between the world’s top two economies has unnerved financial markets and had a mixed impact on the rand, which has lately benefited from signs of a thaw in hostilities between the two superpowers.
On Sunday, U.S. President Donald Trump said a possible trade deal between the United States and China was progressing well, creating some demand for high-yield assets like the rand, which had lost ground to safe-haven assets at the end of the previous week.
For the year, the rand is down nearly 15 percent, making it the fourth worst performer against the dollar, behind the Argentine peso, Turkey’s lira, and the Russian rouble.
Bonds opened firmer, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 3 basis points lower at 8.865 percent.
Stocks opened higher, with Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s (JSE) Top-40 index up 0.58 percent to 46,765 points.
Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana, editing by Larry King