Rand softer, gold stocks buoy bourse

The Star Early Edition - - PRICES - Ka­belo Khu­malo

THE RAND was a touch softer against the dol­lar yes­ter­day but firmed against ma­jor Euro­pean cur­ren­cies as emerg­ing mar­kets cau­tiously awaited the de­ci­sion of the US Fed­eral Re­serve (Fed) last night on its bench­mark rates and its plans to wind down its multi-tril­lion dol­lar bal­ance sheet.

With the Fed hav­ing in­di­cated in the past few weeks that low US in­fla­tion meant that it would opt for a grad­ual in­crease in in­ter­est rates, mar­ket par­tic­i­pants have now shifted their at­ten­tion more on how the US Fed­eral Open Mar­ket Com­mit­tee (FOMC) state­ment dis­cusses in­fla­tion.

The lo­cal unit was at 5pm bid at R13.03 against the dol­lar, while it was pegged at R15.16 against the euro, strength­en­ing from R15.20 in the pre­vi­ous ses­sion. The rand was bid at R16.98 against the pound, from R17 in the com­par­a­tive ses­sion.

Tif­fany Pol­lock, a forex and money mar­ket trader at Mer­chant West, said the Fed was likely to leave pol­icy rates range un­changed and that mar­ket fo­cus could rather cen­tre on the lan­guage in the state­ment.

Sev­eral FOMC mem­bers have al­ready in­ti­mated that bal­ance sheet ad­just­ments could start “rel­a­tively soon”.

Mean­while, stocks on the lo­cal bourse closed higher, led by gold min­ers, which surged 1.9 per­cent. Fi­nan­cials climbed 0.5 per­cent and and re­sources gained 0.8 per­cent.

The bench­mark JSE Top40 in­dex added 0.71 per­cent to 48 563.79 points, while the broader all share in­dex was up 0.62 per­cent to 54 836.19 points. Gold Fields ad­vanced 2.94 per­cent to R50.34, Sibanye Gold was up 2.8 per­cent to R15.76 and An­gloGold Ashanti added 1.25 per­cent to close at R125.

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