South African rand hits nine-month high

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South African bank notes featuring images of former South African President Nelson Mandela (R) are displayed next to the American dollar notes in this photo illustration in Johannesburg, file. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
South African bank notes featuring images of former South African President Nelson Mandela (R) are displayed next to the American dollar notes in this photo illustration in Johannesburg, file. REUTERS

South Africa’s rand hit a nine-month high on Monday after Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa became the new leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, succeeding President Jacob Zuma.

Ramaphosa, a businessman, beat sole rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

He has vowed to fight rampant corruption and revitalise the economy.

Expectations that Ramaphosa would win the race had initially pushed the rand to 12.5200 per dollar, its firmest level since March 27.

The currency held onto the gains after the announcement, trading 2.6 percent firmer at 12.7500/dollar.

Zuma’s presidency, tainted by graft accusations that he denies, has tarnished the image of ANC, and raised the prospect of splits.

The corruption allegations have dented South Africa’s business and consumer confidence, choking economic growth and pushing the country’s credit rating into “junk”.

South Africa’s sovereign dollar bonds extended gains after Ramaphosa’s win.

Domestic government bonds closed firmer before the results, with the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 down 22 basis points at 8.855 percent.

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