January 19, 2018 / 8:00 AM / 6 months ago

South Africa's rand near 2-1/2 year high, stocks ease

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand scaled a fresh 2-1/2 year high against a broadly fragile dollar on Friday before easing after the central bank held interest rates steady on Thursday.

Illustration photo shows a two-rand coin above a South African flag April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

At 0715 GMT, the rand was 0.1 percent weaker at 12.145 to the dollar after earlier hitting 12.0725, its best level since June 2015, according to Thomson Reuters’ data.

NKC African Economics says in morning note that 12.05 to 12.30 is the rand’s expected range for the day.

South Africa’s central bank kept its benchmark repo rate unchanged at 6.75 percent on Thursday, in line with expectations, saying risks to inflation were still on the upside despite the recent strengthening of the rand.

On the political front, markets are monitoring a meeting of the powerful national executive committee of South Africa’s ruling ANC to see if there will be fresh moves to oust state President Jacob Zuma.

Government bonds steady, with the yield on benchmark 2026 instrument unchanged at 8.48 percent.

Stocks ease in early trade, with the benchmark Top-40 index shedding 0.3 to 53,838 and the wider All-share index down 0.3 percent to 60,724, with momentum indicators suggesting main indices are near overbought levels. Technical factors seen weighing on the market.

Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Edmund Blair

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