South African Rand Advances to Five-Week High After U.S. Debate

JOHANNESBURG, Capital Markets in Africa: South Africa’s currency strengthened for a second day, trailing only Mexico’s peso, as traders judged Hillary Clinton to have won the U.S. presidential debate versus Donald Trump.

The rand appreciated as much as 1.5 percent against the dollar, heading for the strongest closing level since Aug. 18. It was 1.3 percent stronger at 13.5060 by 9:42 a.m. in Johannesburg. Most of the more than 140 global currencies tracked by Bloomberg gained.

After Clinton and Trump’s first face-to-face debate on Monday, 62 percent of debate watchers in a CNN/ORC poll said Clinton had won the exchange. A Trump presidency may hurt bonds in emerging markets by weighing on global trade, according to Aberdeen Asset Management Asia Ltd.

“The consensus that Clinton won the first presidential debate has helped global risk assets,” John Cairns, a currency strategist at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg, said in a note. The rand has gained “enough to confirm that a Clinton presidency will be good for the rand, a Trump presidency bad,” he said.

The rand’s advance takes its September gains to 9 percent, the most among global currencies. Benchmark government 10-year bonds rose for the first time in three days, with the yield falling 5 basis points to 8.57 percent.

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