Rand Strengthens for Second Day as South African Vote Starts

(Bloomberg) -- The rand gained a second day on Wednesday as South Africans started voting in an election that may determine prospects for reforms to revive the country’s flagging economy.

The currency advanced 0.7 percent to 14.3341 per dollar by 4:47 p.m. in Johannesburg, after gaining as much as 0.9 percent earlier. Yields on dollar bonds due 2028 climbed two basis points to 5.22 percent, while the cost of insuring the debt for five years using credit-default swaps was unchanged at 194 points. The country’s stock and bond markets are closed for a public holiday.

Rand Strengthens for Second Day as South African Vote Starts

While opinion polls point to the ruling African National Congress extending its quarter-century monopoly on power, President Cyril Ramaphosa needs a convincing majority to push through economic reforms in the face of opposition from factions within the party. A narrow victory could stymie his efforts to restructure state-owned companies and root out corruption.

Voting for the 400-member National Assembly and nine provincial legislatures started at 7 a.m. local time and will run until 9 p.m. Final results are scheduled to be released by May 11, and 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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