October 11, 2019 / 7:06 AM / a month ago

Hopes around U.S.-China trade talks bolster South African rand

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 11 (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand was firmer in early trade on Friday as hopes of progress in U.S.-China trade talks held down the dollar and boosted emerging market currencies.

At 0615 GMT, the rand was up 0.2% at 15.02 per dollar, not too far from an overnight close of 15.05.

Against a basket of currencies, the greenback was a little softer at 98.64.

Top U.S. and Chinese negotiators wrapped up a first day of trade talks on Thursday, with U.S. President Donald Trump describing the meetings as “very, very good negotiation with China”.

“The South African rand rode the wave of cautious optimism as markets assessed U.S.-Sino trade talk uncertainty to have lifted somewhat, although mixed signals from the economic powerhouses kept risk bulls at bay,” analysts at NKC African Economics said in a note.

“Washington and Beijing may agree to a ‘partial’ trade deal, which lifted trade- and risk-sensitive currencies.”

The rand is highly susceptible to swings in global market sentiment, as some investors use it as a proxy for emerging market risk.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 dipped 2 basis points to 8.205%. (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Karishma Singh)

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