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Africa, Forex

South Africa’s rand firms as deficit fears ease

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand firmed early on Friday, bucking a downtrend among its emerging market peers, as concerns about South Africa’s budget eased slightly.

At 0645 GMT the rand was 0.38% firmer at 15.1850 per dollar, moving further away from 11-month lows above 15.50.

Gains were spurred by the National Treasury’s promise to cut costs and keep spending down.

Rating agency Moody’s welcomed the move, saying the government would likely absorb extra financial support for Eskom with new revenue and expenditure measures in October’s budget review, with departmental cuts an option.

South Africa risks breaching self-imposed fiscal ceilings after granting the deeply indebted utility an extra 230 billion rand in emergency funds.

(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; editing by John Stonestreet)

South African Rand coins are seen in this photo illustration

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