South Africa’s rand firmed against the dollar on Friday, taking advantage of buying interest from traders eyeing Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s medium-term budget speech and a Moody’s rating review next week.

At 1545 GMT, the rand ZAR=D3 was 0.86% firmer at 14.5720 per dollar compared to a close of 14.6950 overnight in New York.

Mboweni is likely to raise the budget deficit because of costs related to the state-owned power utility Eskom, a Reuters poll showed.

Treasury’s best option will be to rely heavily on expenditure cuts and the lifting of economic growth through structural policy adjustments, said Old Mutual’ s chief economist Johann Els.

“If the Eskom plan and MTBPS (budget) are received as acceptable and Moody’s keeps our rating outlook unchanged at stable, rand and bond relief rallies are likely,” Els said.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 ZAR186= was down 4.5 basis points to 8.17%.

Stocks were down, with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s Top-40 Index .JTOPI slipping 0.54% to 48,858 points, and the broader all share index closing 0.61% lower at 55,141 points.

Gold miners were the biggest winners of the blue-chip index for the second day in a row, with Goldfields GFIJ.J up 1.3%, followed by Sibanye-Stillwater SGLJ.J and AngloGold Ashanti ANGJ.J, both up more than 1%.

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