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South African Markets Rattled as Zuma Fires Finance Minister

  • Default premium climbs above junk-rated Russia to 2009-high
  • Biggest drop in banks in 14 years as bonds plunge most ever
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Rand Plunges After Zuma Fires Finance Minister

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South African markets were thrown into turmoil after President Jacob Zuma fired the finance minister, strengthening his grip on power amid differences over government spending.

The rand weakened for a sixth day in the longest streak of losses since November 2013 and bond prices dropped the most on record, pushing yields to their highest levels since July 2008. The country’s bank stocks tumbled the most in more than 14 years, dragging the market into a so-called correction, following the dismissal late on Wednesday of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. The cost of insuring South African debt against default rose to the highest in more than 6 1/2 years.