S.Africa's rand firms against weaker dollar as COVID-19 vaccine optimism dips

  • Reuters
S.Africa's rand firms against weaker dollar as COVID-19 vaccine optimism dips

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 13 (Reuters) - The South African rand firmed on Friday against a weaker dollar as concerns over the pandemic's economic toll returned amid rising global coronavirus infections and uncertainty over the delivery of a potential vaccine.

The rand ZAR=D3 traded at 15.5800 against the U.S. dollar at 1449 GMT, 0.38% firmer than its close on Thursday.

"The rand is being buoyed by global sentiment, a combination of market uncertainty over vaccine roll-out and an expectation out of the Biden administration in the U.S.," said BNP Paribas (PA: BNPP ) economist Jeffrey Schultz.

Rising U.S. and European COVID-19 hospitalisations have tempered global market euphoria over a promising vaccine while investors are taking on board further election gains that appear to cement Joe Biden's victory in the U.S. presidential election. rand is seen as a proxy for emerging market risk and is highly susceptible to swings in global market sentiment.

In fixed income, bonds weakened, with the yield on benchmark paper due in 2030 ZAR2030= up 3 basis points to 6.985%.

The stock market closed up only marginally, as markets around the world flatlined amid rising COVID-19 infections in the U.S. and Europe dampened the euphoria around Pfizer (NYSE: PFE )'s promising vaccine. benchmark All-Share Index .JALSH ended the week up 0.27% at 57,183 points and the blue-chip Top-40 Index JTOPI closed 0.35% higher at 52,517 points.

Ryan Woods, a trader at Independent Securities, also said investors were avoiding taking on more risk at the close of the week.

"The market is taking breather at the moment - typically what we see on a Friday afternoon, as people are taking a step back from risk before the weekend starts and are waiting for what Monday has in store to invest," he said.

Gold shares were the main winners of the day, with the gold index .JGLDX rising 0.78% to 4,307 points as the gold price jumped 1%. that tend to suffer from a weak economy, meanwhile, were worst-hit. The banking index .JBANK closed 2.78% lower at 6,527 points.

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