Rand touches 4-week high, JSE lower

The Star Early Edition - - PRICES -

THE RAND firmed against the dol­lar yes­ter­day, touch­ing a four-week high as the green­back lost ground against a bas­ket of cur­ren­cies af­ter unim­pres­sive US labour data.

As the rand strength­ened, in­vestors sold off shares in lo­cal com­pa­nies that earn the bulk of their rev­enues in hard cur­rency – or rand hedge shares – amid thin trad­ing vol­umes, drag­ging the index lower.

Higher plat­inum and gold prices also of­fered sup­port to the rand, NKC African Eco­nomics said in a note yes­ter­day.

At 5pm, the rand was bid at R13.5993 to the dol­lar, 3.36c stronger than at the same time on Wed­nes­day. Ear­lier yes­ter­day it hit a four-week high of R13.4950 be­fore eas­ing back.

“Rand hedges for the most part have weak­ened dur­ing the course of the day,” said In­de­pen­dent Se­cu­ri­ties trader, Ryan Woods.

Gold touched its high­est level in four weeks as the dol­lar weak­ened, while plat­inum was near eightweek highs.

The dol­lar index, a mea­sure of the green­back against six world cur­ren­cies, fell 1.09 per­cent to 101.580.

Mean­while, do­mes­tic sov­er­eign bonds firmed along­side the cur­rency, and the yield for the bench­mark in­stru­ment due in 2026 dipped.

On the bourse, the bench­mark JSE Top40 index fell 0.64 per­cent to 43 681.89 points, while the all share index dropped 0.56 per­cent to 50 474.95 points. Bri­tish Amer­i­can Tobacco slipped 0.29 per­cent to R768.25 and Richemont re­treated 0.41 per­cent to close at R87.89. Fur­ther index losses were curbed by the re­sources sec­tor that ben­e­fited from the higher plat­inum and gold prices boost­ing min­ers. Lon­min surged 8.69 per­cent to R29.90 and Har­mony Gold gained 4.59 per­cent to R33.02.

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