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JOHANNESBURG, Oct 12 (Reuters)South Africa’s rand firmed slightly on Monday, clinging to the previous week’s gains spurred by hopes for the conclusion a stimulus package in the United States.

At 1500 GMT the rand ZAR=D3 was 0.14% firmer at 16.4750 per dollar compared to an close of 16.4975 on Friday in New York.

The expectations of stimulus in the world’s largest economy have provided a welcome boost for the rand by weakening the dollar .DXY and boosting appetite for risk-sensitive currencies.

Traders, however, warned that the cheer was thinning. On Friday, President Donald Trump offered a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief package in talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – moving closer to Pelosi’s $2.2 trillion proposal.

A holiday in the United States kept volumes thin and traders cautious of any big bets.

Locally, anticipation ahead of Thursday’s address in parliament by President Cyril Ramaphosa, in which he has promised to outline the government’s economic recovery plan, has also kept trading on the cautious side.

Treasury is set to publish its medium term budget (MTBPS) in two weeks time.

“The rand continues to average around R16.50/$ this quarter, in line with our forecasts, and will be subject to volatility, with risks around the MTBPS, Moody’s, S&P and Fitch country reviews and global financial market sentiment,” said Annabel Bishop of Investec.

Bonds firmed, with the yield on the benchmark 2030 paper ZAR2030= down 6 basis points to 9.435%.

In the equities market, the Johannesburg All Shares index .JALSH closed 0.67% firmer at 55,552 points while the Top-40 index .JTOPI climbed 0.74% to 51,158 points.

Leading the gainers was troubled retailer Steinhoff SNHJ.J, which continued to rise after it said on Friday discussions about a $1

(Bloomberg) — Sub-Saharan Africa will probably reverse an economic contraction next year as countries in the region begin to ease movement restrictions, even as the impact of the coronavirus will endure for years to come, according to the World Bank.



a person standing in front of a fruit stand: A vendor wearing a protective face mask walks by bags of beans and pulses for sale at Toi market in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Kenya plans to spend 53.7 billion shillings ($503 million) on a stimulus package to support businesses that have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the National Treasury.


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A vendor wearing a protective face mask walks by bags of beans and pulses for sale at Toi market in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Kenya plans to spend 53.7 billion shillings ($503 million) on a stimulus package to support businesses that have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the National Treasury.

The pandemic has put “a decade of hard-won economic progress at risk,” the Washington-based lender said Thursday in its outlook for the region. As many as 40 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty, erasing five years of gains fighting poverty, the bank said.

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Sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product is on track to shrink 3.3% this year, its worst performance on record, due to the combined effects of the disease and lower oil and commodities prices. Growth of about 2.1% could follow in 2021 and 3.2% in 2022, the bank said.

Still, the fallout of the pandemic remains hard to predict.

The lender’s baseline scenario assumes that the number of new infections will continue to slow and that fresh outbreaks won’t result in new lockdowns. If the outbreak is more prolonged or if there’s a second wave, sub-Saharan Africa’s economy may expand by only 1.2% in 2021 and 2.1% in 2022. By the end of 2021, the region’s real per-capita GDP may have regressed to 2007 levels, according to the report.

The region will lose at least $115 billion in output this year and long-term losses are expected “with the level of real per-capita GDP expected to contract by