By: Mfuneko Toyana

South Africa’s rand strengthened on Wednesday following two consecutive days of losses, helped by firmer precious metals prices and a slip in the dollar after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly fired the FBI director.

At 0640 GMT the rand was up 0.3 percent at 13.5875 per dollar compared to a close of 13.6300 overnight in New York.

The rand peaked at 13.5525 as some demand for emerging market assets returned to global markets with investors fearing the sacking of James Comey could derail Trump’s promised tax reform and stimulus steps.

Safe-haven commodities gold and platinum, which are priced in dollars and form a huge chunk of South Africa’s export revenues, inched up on the news, by 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent respectively.

With no local data releases due, traders expected the rand to remain in a narrow range, with a possible test of the 13.4500 resistance level.

Stocks were set to open flat at 0700 GMT, with the JSE securities exchange’s Top-40 futures index up a slim 0.05 percent.

The yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 rose 1.5 basis points to 8.805 percent.