Rand touches 4-week high, JSE lower
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.