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Hillary Clinton’s debate ‘victory’ boosts rand to five-week high

South Africa’s currency strengthened for a second day, trailing only Mexico’s peso in global currency gains against the dollar, as markets judged Hillary Clinton to have won the first of three US presidential debates against rival Donald Trump.

The rand strengthened as much as 1.5% against the dollar, heading for the strongest closing level since August 18. It was 1.3 stronger at 13.5060 by 9.42am in Johannesburg. Most of more than the 140 global currencies tracked by Bloomberg gained.

After Clinton and Trump’s first face-to-face debate on Monday, 62% of debate watchers in a CNN/ORC poll said Clinton had won the exchange. A Trump presidency could hurt bonds in emerging markets by weighing on global trade, according to Aberdeen Asset Management Asia.

“The consensus that Clinton won the first presidential debate has helped global risk assets,” John Cairns, a currency strategist at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg, said in a note. The rand has gained “enough to confirm that a Clinton presidency will be good for the rand, a Trump presidency bad,” he said.

The rand’s advance takes its September gains to 9%, the most among global currencies. Benchmark government 10-year bonds gained for the first time in three days, with the yield falling 5 basis points to 8.57%. – Bloomberg

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