Rand Gains as ANC Takes Pole Position in South African Election

(Bloomberg) -- The rand gained for a third day as the ruling African National Congress appeared to be heading to a convincing win in national elections, potentially strengthening President Cyril Ramaphosa’s hand as he implements reforms to revive a flagging economy.

With close to two-thirds of ballots counted, the ANC had 56.8 percent of the vote, according to the Independent Electoral Commission’s website. That majority could rise to 57.7 percent, a research institute projected, well above the 54.5 percent in nationwide municipal elections in 2016. The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, had 22.5 percent, down from 27 percent.

Rand Gains as ANC Takes Pole Position in South African Election

The rand advanced 0.4% to 14.3242 per dollar by 8:11 p.m. in Johannesburg, even as most emerging-market currencies weakened on concern the U.S.-China trade war is about to escalate.

Ramaphosa needs a decisive win to quell opposition in the faction-riven ANC to give him the clout to restructure debt-ridden state-owned companies and combat corruption in Africa’s most-industrialized economy. A loss of support could have emboldened his critics and limited his policy options.

Voting for the 400-member National Assembly and nine provincial legislatures ran until 9 p.m on Wednesday, with final results scheduled to be released by May 11. A first meeting of the new parliament has been provisionally set for May 22. The president is officially elected at that sitting.

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