Traders bet on Ramaphosa win: Rand reaches 3-month high as ANC votes

JOHANNESBURG — In the early hours of this morning, ANC delegates have been voting for their choices after nominations were decided on at the party’s elective conference yesterday. The main battle is between Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. It’s been a tight and dirty race but traders are betting that Ramaphosa will win as the Rand has strengthened dramatically overnight. Political analysts are saying we should expect results of that voting during the course of Monday. Hope springs. – Gareth van Zyl

By Robert Brand

Bloomberg – South Africa’s rand headed for a three-month high against the dollar as delegates at the ruling African National Congress’ conference prepared to elect a new leader.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa attends post-elections National Dialogue in Maseru on October 18, 2017.

The currency traded at 13.0989 per dollar as of 9:50 a.m. in Tokyo after earlier touching 12.9055, the strongest level since Sept. 12, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Against the euro, it approached a five-month high and was at 15.3891.

Traders are betting Cyril Ramaphosa will win the election after gaining more branch nominations than his opponent, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. While five other officials declared their candidature for party president, none of them received nomination from the delegates at the party’s national elective conference in Johannesburg on Sunday.

“The rand is stronger on the likelihood of Cyril Ramaphosa being elected ANC head,” Stephen Innes, Singapore-based head of trading for Asia Pacific at Oanda Corp., said in a note. “And indeed Tokyo ‘carry traders’ will be smiling this morning. ”

A win for Ramaphosa, a wealthy businessman before becoming the party’s deputy president in 2012, could spark a rand rally as he is seen as the more investor-friendly candidate, according to Rand Merchant Bank. Victory for Dlamini-Zuma, a former chairwoman of the African Union Commission and incumbent President Jacob Zuma’s ex-wife and preferred candidate, could see the currency test the record-weak level of 14.57 it posted last year.

The Rand’s trajectory against the US dollar over the last month, including Monday. (Source: Bloomberg)

The election results are expected to be announced on Monday. The contest has divided the 105-year-old ANC, weighed on the rand and South Africa’s bonds and deterred foreign investment.

Ramaphosa, Dlamini-Zuma Vie to Lead South Africa’s ANC

By Amogelang Mbatha and Sam Mkokeli

(Bloomberg) — South Africa’s ruling African National Congress completed the process of nominating new leaders on Sunday, with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President Jacob Zuma’s ex-wife and favored successor, confirmed as the sole contenders for the top job.

Ramaphosa was nominated by five provinces while the remaining four backed Dlamini-Zuma, the electoral agency overseeing the vote announced at the party’s national elective conference in Johannesburg. While five other officials declared their candidature, none of them received nomination from the conference floor.

David Mabuza, the premier of the eastern Mpumalanga province, and Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu will square off in the contest for the ANC deputy presidency, while Gwede Mantashe, the party’s outgoing secretary-general, will vie for the post of chairman. Senzo Mchunu, the former premier of KwaZulu-Natal province, and Ace Magashule, the premier of the central Free State region, were nominated for secretary-general.

The election results are expected to be announced on Monday. The contest has divided the 105-year-old ANC, weighed on the rand and South Africa’s bonds and deterred foreign investment.

The rand gained 1.3 percent to 12.9281 per dollar by 10:55 p.m. in Johannesburg, the strongest level on a closing basis since Sept. 7. Against the euro, it strengthened 1.4 percent to 15.1757.

In a report delivered to the conference, Mantashe said the ANC was riven by factionalism, showing serious signs of decline and in danger of the losing the electoral majority it’s held since white majority rule ended in 1994. He said the party failed to respond adequately to criticism of Zuma and allegations that private companies wielded undue influence over the state, a phenomenon known in South Africa as state capture.

“Rebuilding the reputation and image of the movement should be a priority,” Mantashe said. “The risk of losing power is real.”

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