NASPERSN:  368,900   +1500 (+0.41%)  24/04/2019 00:00

South African rand edges higher, stocks flat

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JOHANNESBURG, March 4 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand ended firmer on Monday, boosted by growing hopes of a trade deal between the United state and China, but trading was cautious ahead of crucial local and offshore data that could see the currency's slide resume.

At 1515 GMT, the rand was 0.1 percent firmer at 14.2175 per dollar compared with a close of 14.2300 on Friday in New York.

The rand snapped a four-day losing streak in the session on reports U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could reach a formal trade deal at a month-end summit.

The rand has shed more than 3 percent since last Monday to make it one of the worst-performing emerging currencies in February, and is due to face short term volatility with local economic growth figures out on Tuesday and U.S. jobs data on Friday.

On Thursday, the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) decides on whether to grant ailing power utility Eskom the large tariff increases the firm says it needs to keep the lights on.

On Friday, S&P Global Ratings upped Eskom's outlook to stable from negative but warned the recent 69 billion rand ($4.8 billion) government bailout was not enough to cover the firm's funding requirements.

Bonds were flat, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 holding at 8.725 percent.

Stocks were also little changed, with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange's top-40 index closing up 0.11 percent at 49,895 points and the broader all-share up 0.02 percent 56,217 points.

Naspers led the top-40 index higher, up 3.34 percent, after it completed its plan to spin off and unbundle shares in Africa's largest pay-TV business MultiChoice.

MultiChoice listed on the JSE last week, but shares in the newly independent company were only unbundled to Naspers shareholders on Monday.

($1 = 14.2425 rand) (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana and Emma Rumney; Editing by Mark Potter)

2019-03-04 18:01:52

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