South Africa’s Rand Gains to Five-Month High Versus Dollar

Johannesburg, South Africa, Capital Markets in Africa — The rand gained to its strongest level against the dollar in five months after South Africa unexpectedly posted a trade surplus in March for the first time this year.

The currency gained 0.9 percent to 14.1611 per dollar by 2:46 p.m. in Johannesburg, heading for the strongest level since Nov. 24 and the best performance out of 31 major and emerging-market currencies monitored by Bloomberg. The rand has advanced 9.2 percent this year, partially reversing a 25 percent loss in 2015. Yields on benchmark government bonds due December 2026 dropped 7 basis points to 8.97 percent.

The country posted a trade surplus of 2.9 billion rand ($205 million) in March, compared with a deficit of 1.1 billion rand the previous month, the revenue agency said. The median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a deficit of 1.9 billion rand.

Earlier, the rand strengthened after the high court set aside a 2009 decision to drop corruption charges against Jacob Zuma, one month before he became president. The ruling may mean Zuma has to face more than 700 charges.

Source: Bloomberg News

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