JOHANNESBURG – The rand firmed yesterday, gaining alongside other emerging market currencies as concerns over a possible recession in the US dented the dollar.

At 5pm, the rand bid at R14.3390 to the dollar, 13cents stronger than at the same time on Friday.

Most developing world currencies firmed yesterday as the dollar took a back seat after the US yield curve inverted on Friday for the first time since mid-2007, the strongest indication of a possible recession for the world’s largest economy.

South Africa-focused investors will this week keep a close eye on the central bank interest rates decision on Thursday and a Moody’s ratings review on Friday.

The SA Reserve Bank is expected to keep lending rates steady when it concludes its second monetary policy meeting for the year on Thursday but may strike a hawkish tone as oil and electricity prices climb.

The domestic economy has barely grown in the past decade with fiscal missteps and corruption contributing to weak business and consumer confidence.

Bonds also firmed, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 falling 4 basis points to 8.71percent.

Stocks weakened as sentiment for riskier assets dwindled with global stocks under pressure as fears for economic growth sent investors to safe-haven assets. The all-share index fell 1.32percent to 55367.11 points and the Top40 index declined 1.27percent at 49161.53 points.