South African government bonds were firmer on Thursday afternoon, as the benchmark R186 broke through 8% for the first time in a month. The local market was upbeat ahead of Moody’s credit rating announcement expected on Friday. The market was also supported by firmer global bond markets, with the benchmark US 10-year yield falling as prices rose following the mildly hawkish message from the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday. The Fed hiked rates as expected, but pencilled in a total of three hikes this year, while the market has speculated four could be accommodated in the present healthy US economy. "For now, there seems to be enough comfort that SA will avoid a ratings downgrade come Friday evening," said TreasuryOne head currency dealer Wichard Cilliers. However, he said the land reform issue would have to be handled responsibly to avert a downgrade in future. "We anticipate that land reform can be an issue in the months ahead, judging by comments continuously made by politicians," ...

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