Rand weakens ahead of US jobs data

The rand weakened against the dollar in early trade on Friday, as market jitters grew ahead of highly anticipated US jobs data.

At 0701 GMT, the rand traded at R16.75 against the dollar, 0.21% weaker than its previous close.

Analysts at ETM Analytics said in a note that the market will find direction from today’s US employment report, which will also be viewed for fresh impetus into the new week.

Late on Thursday, credit rating agency Fitch affirmed South Africa’s long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating at ‘BB-‘ with a stable outlook.

“The affirmation takes into consideration that government debt last year was lower than previously anticipated, but that debt stabilisation will remain challenging,” Fitch said in a statement.

It also flagged improvements in a number of key credit metrics, including the current account balance.

The National Treasury said in a response that the government would continue to demonstrate its commitment to fiscal sustainability and enable long-term growth by narrowing the budget deficit and sizable debt.

“South Africa’s steadfast commitment to restoring the sustainability of public finances is supported by better-than-expected revenue collection in the current fiscal year,” it said.

On the stock market, the Top-40 index was down 0.5% while the broader all-share dropped 0.4% in early trade.

The government’s benchmark 2030 bond was lower in early deals, with the yield up 3.5 basis points to 10.625%.

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