The rand rose to its strongest level against the dollar this year as the ruling African National Congress looked set to win elections convincingly and after Chinese trade data beat economists’ estimates.
South Africa’s currency gained 1.2 percent to 10.3258 per dollar, the strongest since Dec. 26, by 5:50 p.m. in Johannesburg. That’s the best performance today among 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.
The ANC is on course to maintain its 20-year dominance in the 400-member National Assembly. Emerging-market assets gained as a report showed overseas shipments from China rose 0.9 percent in April from a year earlier, beating the 3 percent decline forecast in a Bloomberg survey, government data showed today.
“Emerging markets are doing very well, helped by the above news, but also, seemingly, a return of strong inflows,” John Cairns, a currency strategist at FirstRand Ltd.’s Rand Merchant Bank unit, said in an e-mailed note to clients today. China’s trade data “has reassured global markets yet again,” he said.
The yield on rand-denominated government bonds due December 2026 fell 21 basis points, the most since June 27, to 8.13 percent. Foreigners bought a net 1.6 billion rand ($154.4 million) of the nation’s bonds on May 6.
With ballots counted in 56 percent of the 22,263 voting districts, the ANC’s support stood at 63.6 percent, according to provisional figures released at 2.40 p.m. local time by the Independent Electoral Commission. The main opposition Democratic Alliance won 22.5 percent.