Rand firms as Ramaphosa wins ANC leadership

JOHANNESBURG – The South African rand on Monday scaled to a nine-month high after Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was named the new ANC president, succeeding outgoing President Jacob Zuma.

Ramaphosa clinched the top position by a convincing 2440 votes to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s 2261.

Towards the 54th ANC elective conference at Nasrec, Johannesburg, the rand started to firm against major global currencies as expectations that Cyril Ramaphosa will win the election were high.

According to economists, the rand pushed to 12.5200 per dollar as results were being counted, its firmest level since March.

After the announcement of the results, the currency automatically hit a 9-month high, 2.6% firmer at 12.7500/dollar as of 1749 GMT.

Economists believe that Cyril Ramaphosa, who is a successful businessman himself has brought investor and business confidence to both the local and international market.

Manik Narain, a strategist at UBS in London said, “Markets are taking the view that rating downgrades in late February to early March, when the Moody’s review is due, may not happen, at least at that review, and there is a greater chance of political reforms as Ramaphosa does have a strong market track record.”

Although the currency has gained its power, Narain says it is not yet clear how much more the rand is expected to gain more value as its still likely to be a divided ANC.

Ramaphosa has vowed to revitalise the economy and fight corruption, much to the delight of foreign investors.

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