South Africa's rand scales 3-week high, stocks set to open flat

Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:01am GMT

JOHANNESBURG, April 20 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand scaled a three-week high against a weakening dollar on Thursday, boosted by slowing inflation and reassurances by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba that he had no plans to nationalise mines and banks.

* At 0650 GMT, the rand had gained 0.36 percent to 13.2300 per dollar, its firmest since March 31, compared to a close of 13.2775 overnight in New York.

* The currency plunged as low as 13.9800 per dollar on April 10 after a cabinet reshuffle prompted downgrades by ratings agencies S&P and Fitch.

* "Global short-term pressures on the rand have eased," RMB Global Markets analyst John Cairns said in a note.

* On Wednesday, data showed March inflation slowed to 6.1 percent and Gigaba moved to reassure investors after one of his advisors called for nationalisation of banks and mines.

* "It is too early to say that the market has found a new post-downgrade level. And there remains a lot on the political front that will shock," Cairns added.

* Stocks were set to open flat at 0900 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange's Top-40 futures index down 0.05 percent.

* In fixed income, bonds firmed as the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 2 basis points to 8.750 percent. (Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by Joe Brock)

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