BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes

THE Kwacha opened the day on Friday at the previous day’s close of K13.25/13.30 on the bid and offer respectively, Barclays Bank Zambia has said.

The bank indicated that during the course of the day, it gained some strength undulating within K13.20 and K13.27 to see it close at K13.20/K13.25 per dollar helped by corporates conversions to meet mid-month tax obligations.

In its daily market update,the bank however expected the currency to remain at similar levels in the next week.

Elsewhere, the South Africa’s rand fell again early on Friday, reaching a new 2019 low as assurances by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) about the independence of the central bank did little to ease nerves about economic policy.

The rand was 0.63 percent weaker at 15.0900 per dollar, bring losses since Monday to nearly 5 percent as a public spat among senior ANC officials over the Reserve Bank’s mandate added to the bad news of a contraction to the economy.

Meanwhile, Copper prices were set for their eighth straight weekly fall after trade disputes, signs of slowing global economic growth and disappointing U.S. jobs data weakened the demand outlook for metals.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) traded down 0.2 percent at US$5,799 a tonne in closing rings, down 0.5 percent this week.

Oil prices rose nearly 3 percent on Friday, climbing further from five-month lows hit this week, after Saudi Arabia said OPEC was close to agreeing to extend an output production cut beyond June and as Wall Street rallied.

Brent crude futures gained $1.62, or 2.6 percent, to settle at US$63.29 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude ended at US$53.99 a barrel, up US$1.40, or 2.7 percent.

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