May 9, 2019 / 7:34 AM / 4 months ago

South African rand firmer after elections, stocks fall

JOHANNESBURG, May 9 (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand firmed in early trade on Thursday, a day after an election for a new parliament and provincial legislatures, while stocks fell with Steinhoff the biggest loser on the all-share index.

The election was seen as the toughest test yet for the ruling African National Congress party 25 years after the party swept to power at the end of white minority rule.

At 0722 GMT, the rand traded at 14.3350 per dollar, 0.36 percent firmer than its New York close on Wednesday.

“It’s too early to tell how the domestic market has interpreted the initial results,” RMB analyst Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana said in a note.

“The rand’s apparent outperformance against a basket of EM currencies, despite concerns over the fluidity of US-Sino trade talks, could be reinforced if the consensus expectation for the ruling party plays out and the ANC secures 57 percent-58.5 percent of the national vote.”

On the stock market, the Top-40 index was down 1.5 percent while the broader all-share fell 1.4 percent in early trade.

Shares in Steinhoff fell more than 16 percent after the retailer reported a $4 billion operating loss in the 2017 fiscal year on Tuesday.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark instrument due in 2026 was down 7.5 basis points to 8.525 percent. (Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo)

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