South African rand jumps on improved sentiment

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -The South African rand jumped on Monday against a weaker dollar as market sentiment improved, despite ongoing tensions in the Middle East, analysts said.

At 1506 GMT, the rand traded at 18.7975 against the dollar, about 1.2% stronger than its previous close.

The dollar eased about 0.23% against a basket of other major currencies.

The rand’s gains are pointing at some improvement in market sentiment into the new week, but concerns that the Israeli-Hamas conflict could escalate into a regional matter remains, said Danny Greeff, co-head of Africa at ETM Analytics.

The rand, like most emerging market currencies, is highly susceptible to global drivers such as dollar movement and geopolitical tensions elsewhere in addition to local economic data points.

Local investors will this week turn their attention to consumer inflation and retail sales data for hints on the South African Reserve Bank’s potential interest rate path when it meets in November.

On the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the blue-chip Top-40 index closed over 0.3% higher.

South Africa’s benchmark 2030 government bond was little changed, the yield up 0.5 basis point to 10.735%.

(Reporting by Tannur Anders with additional reporting by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Sharon Singleton)