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Rand weaker as government mulls more Eskom support

The rand weakened early on Thursday, after a senior minister said the government was considering more financial support for the highly indebted utility Eskom.

South African rand. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand weakened early on Thursday, after a senior minister said the government was considering more financial support for the highly indebted utility Eskom.

At 0735 GMT, the rand slipped 0.3% from its previous close to R14.1900 against the dollar.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday the highest levels of government were discussing another support package for the state-run Eskom, which in February was granted a R69 billion ($4.9 billion) bailout over the next three years.

Eskom Chairman Jabu Mabuza said on Wednesday that Eskom’s debt would be more manageable if it were R250 billion lower.

The South African currency had rallied earlier in the week after the ratings agency Moody’s delayed a review that might have removed South Africa’s last investment-grade credit rating, then struck a surprisingly positive note in a research report.

Stocks opened weaker on Thursday, with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s Top-40 Index and the All-Share Index both 0.4% lower.

Government bonds were also weaker, with the yield on the 2026 bond adding 1.5 basis points to 8.545%.

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