South African rand strengthens in early trade

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand edged higher early on Tuesday, as optimism around prospects of a U.S.-China trade deal outweighed worries over struggling state power utility Eskom and an upcoming budget speech.

At 0657 GMT, the rand traded at 14.7250 versus the dollar, 0.3% stronger than its previous close.

Government bonds were little changed, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 bond up less than 1 basis point at 8.28%.

China and the United States have achieved some progress in their trade talks, Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said on Tuesday, after U.S. President Donald Trump sounded upbeat on a trade deal on Monday.

Those comments helped boost appetite for emerging market assets, like those in South Africa.

But Bianca Botes, treasury partner at Peregrine Treasury Solutions, said uncertainty over Eskom and next week’s mid-term budget statement were capping gains for the rand.

South Africa-focused investors want to see government make progress on restructuring Eskom and containing the budget deficit.

Officials have said they will announce a new chief executive for Eskom this month and publish a paper outlining plans to reform the utility.

Reporting by Alexander Winning; editing by Uttaresh.V

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