South Africa’s rand hits more than 2-month highs on release of Gupta report

South African bank notes featuring an image of former South African President Nelson Mandela are displayed at an office in Johannesburg January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand touched 2-1/2 month high against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday after a court ordered the release of a report over alleged influence peddling in government by close allies of President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma earlier withdrew a court challenge to the release of the report by the Public Protector, a constitutionally mandated anti-graft watchdog, on the extent of political influence by the Gupta family, who are his wealthy friends.

At 1320 GMT, the rand traded at 13.36000 per dollar, 1.8 percent firmer from its New York close on Tuesday and trading at its firmest level since Aug. 18, according to Thomson Reuters data.

“It’s an indication that the country still enjoys institutional strength and that’s a definite plus for investors,” ETM Analytics economist Jana van Deventer said.

“The currency could strengthen further if we see more progress on this front.”

Government bonds firmed alongside the currency, with the yield for the benchmark instrument due in 2026 dipping 10.5 basis points to 8.655 percent.

On the bourse, the benchmark Top-40 index fell 1.5 percent to 43,787 points while the All-Share index dropped 1.2 percent to 50,338 points.

(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by James Macharia)

 

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