South African rand gains after comments by Fed's Powell

BY Reuters | ECONOMIC | 12/01/23 11:44 AM EST

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 1 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand strengthened against the dollar on Friday, reversing its losses from the previous day, as U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the Fed would move "carefully" on interest rates.

At 1619 GMT, the rand traded at 18.6150 against the dollar , about 1.2% stronger than its previous close.

The dollar was last trading flat against a basket of global currencies, after falling in the wake of Powell's comments.

Powell reaffirmed the U.S. central bank's intent to be cautious in its upcoming monetary policy decisions, but also said it was too early to declare the Fed's inflation fight finished.

South Africa handed state-owned rail and ports firm Transnet a 47 billion rand ($2.5 billion) lifeline on Friday, which it said would help Transnet meet its immediate debt obligations.

Transnet's single $1 billion international bond, which matures in 2028, rose on the news, with its price up as much as 1.8 cents to 98.9 cents, its highest price since Aug. 1 according to Tradeweb data.

The logistics utility's underperformance has impacted commodity exports and other sectors such as manufacturing and retail, weakening Africa's most advanced economy.

On the stock market, both the Top-40 index and the broader all-share index ended the day about 0.2% higher.

South Africa's benchmark 2030 government bond was unchanged, with the yield at 9.980%. (Reporting by Bhargav Acharya and Nellie Peyton Editing by Christina Fincher and Frances Kerry)

In general the bond market is volatile, and fixed income securities carry interest rate risk. (As interest rates rise, bond prices usually fall, and vice versa. This effect is usually more pronounced for longer-term securities.) Fixed income securities also carry inflation risk and credit and default risks for both issuers and counterparties. Unlike individual bonds, most bond funds do not have a maturity date, so avoiding losses caused by price volatility by holding them until maturity is not possible.

Lower-quality debt securities generally offer higher yields, but also involve greater risk of default or price changes due to potential changes in the credit quality of the issuer. Any fixed income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to loss.

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