Rand ends week softer, stocks flat

The Star Early Edition - - PRICES - Reuters

THE RAND weak­ened on Fri­day, fal­ter­ing in the face of tech­ni­cal bar­ri­ers and po­lit­i­cal wor­ries af­ter an ex­ec­u­tive at the power util­ity Eskom was sus­pended pend­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into graft al­le­ga­tions.

By 5.45pm on Fri­day, the rand had weak­ened 0.17 per­cent to R13.0125 to the dol­lar, com­pared with a close of R12.99 overnight in New York on Thurs­day, ex­tend­ing losses to a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive ses­sion as it failed to break the 12.80 re­sis­tance level.

“The rand once again failed to make any mean­ing­ful or sus­tained gains, fal­ter­ing short of the 12.80 tech­ni­cal pivot. We re­main in the greater range which has been preva­lent for some time now,” said an­a­lyst at Ned­bank, Reezwana Su­mad.

Sen­ti­ment to­wards the cur­rency was also hurt by re­ports late on Thurs­day that the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of state power firm Eskom, Anoj Singh, had been placed on spe­cial leave. Eskom said it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing claims Singh had granted pref­er­en­tial treat­ment to bid­ders sup­ply­ing coal to the state-owned com­pany .

Eskom re­lies on state guar­an­tees amount­ing to about R350 bil­lion to stay afloat. Rat­ing agen­cies have called it a dan­ger to the coun­try’s credit sta­tus.

Bonds were weaker, with the yield on the bench­mark 2026 pa­per ris­ing.

Mean­while, stocks were lit­tle changed on both the JSE Top40 in­dex and the wider all share in­dex. The for­mer closed at 48 551.29 points and the lat­ter at 54 883.21 points.

The min­ing in­dex was up 0.8 per­cent and the bul­lion in­dex up 2.74 per­cent as global re­source prices climbed.

Un­der­whelm­ing eco­nomic growth in the US bol­stered bets the coun­try’s in­ter­est rates would re­main low. Gold Fields rose 3.59 per­cent to R52.25 and An­gloGold Ashanti gained 3.16 per­cent to R131.40.

Shares of the South Africa arm of the Bar­clays Group dropped 2.16 per­cent to R143.93 de­spite re­port­ing that half-year profit in­creased 7 per­cent.

Mean­while, global stock mar­kets re­treated on Fri­day as to­bacco shares dropped and Ama­zon earn­ings dis­ap­pointed, while oil prices added to re­cent gains and were on track for their big­gest weekly per­cent­age rise this year.

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