JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s rand firmed on Thursday, as the dollar retreated on global markets, with safe-haven demand for the U.S. currency waning as investors grew optimistic about a trade deal between the United States and China.
At 1530 GMT, the rand traded at 15.0650 versus the dollar, 0.72% stronger than its previous close.
“USD/ZAR15.00 is a viable breaking point if the US-Sino trade negotiations prove meaningful yet should the discourse crumble, moves to the upside will be far more severe,” RMB analyst Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana said in a note.
The dollar index, a gauge of the greenback’s value against six major currencies, was on track for its biggest daily drop in five weeks.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said on Thursday China is willing to reach an agreement with the United States on matters that both sides care about so as to prevent friction from leading to any further escalation.
Trade talks between the two countries started on Thursday.
On the stock market, the Top-40 index closed 1.49% higher at 49,032 points while the broader all-share was up 1.33% to 55,060.
Shares in cement company PPC Ltd jumped more than 6% to 3.80 rand after the firm said that Chief Financial Officer Tryphosa Ramano, who was also an executive director, will step down on Oct. 31.
In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 dipped 1.5 basis points to 8.225%.