September 11, 2019 / 8:01 AM / 6 days ago

South Africa's rand stretches gains on easing downgrade worries

An informal trader receives change from a fellow trader at her stall in Hillcrest, west of Durban, South Africa, January 11, 2016. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand edged higher on Wednesday, extending gains into a fourth session, as the country looked likely to dodge a credit rating downgrade.

At 0600 GMT the rand was 0.1% firmer at 14.6225 per dollar, it best level since Aug. 2, compared with a close of 14.6375 overnight.

The rand has advanced more than 3% since last week’s better-than-expected second-quarter economic growth data, and as comments by ratings firm Moody’s on Tuesday that downgrade from Baa3 to sub-investment was unlikely in the near-term further boosted sentiment.

Bets that the European Central Bank (ECB) will push interest rates even further into negative territory at its meeting on Thursday, and signs that the United States and China would go back to the negotiating table, also lifted risk demand.

Bonds were weaker in early trading, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 up 1.5 basis points to 8.145%.

Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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