Bloomberg News

Rand Strengthens After Greece Austerity Vote Whets Risk Appetite

June 29, 2011

June 29 (Bloomberg) -- The rand strengthened versus the dollar for a third day after Greek lawmakers voted to approve a package of austerity measures to avert a debt default, boosting investor appetite for high-yielding assets.

The South African currency gained as much as 0.4 percent to 6.8818 per dollar, and traded up 0.3 percent at 6.8230 at 6:02 p.m. in Johannesburg. It slipped 0.3 percent to 9.8466 per euro.

Emerging-market stocks rose to a two-week high and commodities rallied for a second day. Advances in gold and platinum, which account for 20 percent of South Africa’s exports, helped drive South Africa’s benchmark stock index to the highest since June 7.

“The rand continues to take its cue from the level of global risk appetite,” Standard Bank Group Ltd. analysts led by Johannesburg-based Michael Keenan wrote in a research note. The currency may strengthen to 6.77 per dollar in coming weeks, they wrote.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou got 155 out of 300 votes in Parliament, enough for passage of his 78 billion euro ($112 billion) plan for budget cuts and state asset sales. The bill is a prerequisite for the cash-strapped nation to tap a fifth portion of last year’s European Union rescue package. The Greek parliament faces a second vote tomorrow to authorize implementation for the measures.

The rand pared gains immediately after the vote as traders who had bought the currency anticipating the austerity measures would be approved unwound positions. The currency had gained 0.9 percent versus the dollar in two days before today’s vote.

“Today’s positive vote was largely discounted already,” Ian Cruickshanks, head of treasury strategic research at Johannesburg-based Nedbank Capital, a unit of South Africa’s fourth-biggest bank, said by phone.

Bonds declined for second day. The 13.5 percent notes due 2015 slipped 25 cents to 121.16 rand, driving the yield up five basis points, or 0.05 percentage point, to 7.51 percent. The . bond due 2021 dropped 37 cents to 88.89 rand, boosting the yield six basis points to 8.44 percent.

--Editors: John Kohut, Ana Monteiro, Linda Shen.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Brand in Cape Town at rbrand9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net.


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