October 12, 2018 / 6:58 AM / a month ago

South African rand firmer ahead of Moody's rating decision

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 12 (Reuters) - The South African rand firmed against the globally hobbled dollar early on Friday ahead of the country’s credit review announcement by ratings agency Moody’s later in the day.

* The rand was 0.85 percent stronger at 14.5100 per dollar at 0650 GMT, having closed in New York at 14.6350.

* The rand is expected to trade between 14.3500 and 14.7000 to the dollar on Friday, NKC African Economics wrote in a note.

* Moody’s is the last of the top rating agencies to have Pretoria’s long-term foreign-currency debt in investment grade.

* South Africa’s stable outlook on its credit rating means there is little chance of a downgrade, Moody’s said on Sept. 13, but a commitment to fiscal consolidation at the October budget would be key to maintaining the positive rating.

* The rand was supported by the slightly-better-than-expected South African manufacturing production data for August.

* Globally, the U.S. dollar traded at its lowest level this month against its major peers on Friday as declining U.S. treasury yields and further losses on Wall Street soured sentiment.

* In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 fell 1 basis points to 9.255 percent.

* Stocks are due open firmer at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 futures index up 1.10 percent. (Reporting by Nomvelo Chalumbira Editing by Ed Stoddard)

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