Bonds firm as risk-on sentiment lifts emerging markets

South African bonds were firmer shortly before midday on Thursday, as the market digested a statement by the US Federal Reserve that was widely perceived as dovish.

On Wednesday, Fed officials voted unanimously to keep interest rates on hold, adding that an unwinding of its $4.5-trillion balance sheet would begin “relatively soon”, a phrase that often has preceded action at the next policy meeting.

The rand, which bonds usually track, was marginally weaker against the dollar after a rally late on Wednesday.

Nonresidents were more active than locals while maintaining their interest in local bonds on Wednesday, and they appeared to be vindicated given the rand’s rally, which had inspired further bond gains on Thursday, Sasfin Securities analysts said.

US economic data releases on Thursday and Friday could lead to cautious trading, but the Fed’s stance may continue to support emerging markets, the analysts said.

Data releases for the world’s largest economy this week include GDP numbers for the second quarter on Friday.

At 11.30am the R186 was bid at 8.48% from Wednesday’s 8.525% and the R207 at 7.23% from 7.29%.

The rand was at R12.9118 to the dollar from R12.8989.

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