A street money changer counts South African Rands in Harare

South Africa's rand steady as investors mull developments ahead of long weekend

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's rand held steady on Friday as investors assessed local and international political developments ahead of a long weekend and a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting next week.

At 0618 GMT, the rand traded at 14.8625 versus the dollar, 0.05 percent up from its previous close.

Government bonds also gained, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 bond falling 0.5 basis points to 8.385 percent.

Political uncertainty has fed investor jitters.

The main opposition party is calling for South Africa's graft watchdog to release a report into allegations President Cyril Ramaphosa misled parliament over a donation to his 2017 campaign to lead the ruling African National Congress party.

Senior ANC officials meanwhile contradicted each other over whether the party had decided to expand the central bank's mandate in the wake of data showing the worst economic contraction in a decade.

"Over the course of the past week, the rand has traded skittishly as both local and international headlines have caused some consternation in the markets," Nedbank CIB analysts said in a morning note.

Markets also remain on alert after two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman, with the United States blaming Iran for the assaults.

Investors are also looking towards the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting next week to see whether the first of two anticipated interest rate cuts will happen, said Andre Botha, Senior Dealer at TreasuryONE in a morning note.

Nedbank CIB analysts expect the rand to trade in the range of 14.7000 to 15.0500 on Friday.

South African markets will be closed on Monday for a public holiday.

(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Catherine Evans)

2019-06-14 09:28:17

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