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S.Africa's rand partially recovers, but risks remain

07/26/2021 | 12:18pm EDT
South African Rand coins are seen in this illustration picture

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -South Africa's rand recovered from early losses on Monday, with concerns over rising COVID-19 infections setting a cautious tone in global markets ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's meeting this week.

At 1540 GMT, the rand traded at 14.8000 against the dollar, up 0.35% from its previous close.

The currency fell last week after the South African Reserve Bank suggested on Thursday that interest rates would stay relatively low.

The dollar has in recent sessions benefited from safe-haven buying on fears a surge in infections of the fast-spreading Delta variant could derail the global recovery, pressuring riskier assets, such as the rand.

The dollar has also been supported by inflationary concerns and prospects of an earlier than expected U.S. rate hike.

Market participants are now waiting for the U.S. central bank's meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. While no policy change is expected, investors will look for clues on when the Fed might start reining in its easy monetary policies.

"A more dovish tone ... would help significantly with market concerns over global growth on the global rising third wave," said Annabel Bishop, chief economist at Investec.

Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange were largely unchanged from Friday's close.

The benchmark all-share index closed down 0.02% at 68,051 points, while the blue-chip index of top 40 companies closed up 0.02% to 61,946 points.

Shares in Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum jumped by more than 5% as Impala Platinum posted a four-fold jump in half year profits.

The resources index was up 3.68%, which helped offset a fall in industrials, led by a slump in the shares of Naspers Ltd and subsidiary Prosus, which were down on increased scrutiny of tech companies in China.

Naspers, through Prosus, holds around a 30% stake in Chinese internet and gaming giant Tencent.

Bonds strengthened, with the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2030 down 13 basis points at 8.83%.

(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Promit MukherjeeEditing by Tomasz Janowski and Mark Potter)

© Reuters 2021
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