South Africa's rand extends losses on jitters over education spending

South Africa's rand extends losses on jitters over education spending
Photo illustration of South African bank notes displayed next to the American dollar notes in Johannesburg
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's rand eased on Friday, extending losses triggered on Thursday after comments by President Jacob Zuma raised concerns about higher spending on education, which would put added strain on the country's already stretched public finances.

At 0645 GMT, the rand was 0.1 percent softer at 14.26/dlr.

South Africa's government is considering a range of budget cuts that could include slashing social grants for the most vulnerable in order to pay for free tertiary education, a newspaper reported on Friday.

The Mail & Guardian newspaper said a presidential fiscal committee had presented a document to Zuma outlining possible cuts to fund free higher education for lower-income students as well as plugging a swelling budget deficit.

Options included cuts to the social grants that are the main source of income for around 17 million people - a third of the population - and slashing the budgets for housing, infrastructure and the armed forces, the newspaper said.

The yield on the benchmark instrument due in 2026 steady at 9.30 percent.

Stocks were set to open up, with the JSE securities exchange's Top-40 futures index ALSIc1 0.23 percent higher.

(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Tiisetso Motsoeneng)

2017-11-10 09:57:38

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