May 5, 2020 / 7:37 AM / a month ago

South Africa's rand recovers in global emerging market bounce

JOHANNESBURG, May 5 (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand rose early on Tuesday, shaking off a batch of bad data to gain more than 1% as global risk appetite was lifted by further easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

At 0715 GMT the rand was 1.07% firmer at 18.3720 per dollar versus an overnight close of 18.5710.

“There is some cautious risk appetite this morning on further lockdown easing and opening up of economic activity around the world, offsetting the Sino-U.S. tensions,” said Andre Botha, senior dealer at TreasuryONE.

On Monday, data showed South Africa’s business activity contracted to its lowest ever in April, as the coronavirus lockdown, now in its sixth week, paralysed manufacturing, while new cars sales also plunged.

But a rebound in risk demand, also helped by firming oil prices, has seen emerging market currencies recover.

U.S. crude rose 6.6% and Brent around 5% as production fell and countries around the globe including Italy, Finland and several U.S. states relaxed lockdowns.

Bonds rallied, with the yield on the 10-year South African government paper falling 14 basis points to 10.060%

Stocks also opened higher, with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s top 40 index up 0.89% at 45,658 points. (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Pravin Char)

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