Rand touches 2-week highs, JSE lower

The Star Early Edition - - PRICES - Reuters

THE RAND raced to a two-week high yes­ter­day as in­vestor ap­petite for riskier but high-yield­ing emerg­ing mar­kets as­sets im­proved and data eased con­cerns about the do­mes­tic econ­omy.

Stocks were down, with Gold Fields the big­gest loser among the blue chips, as the firmer rand weighed on gold min­ing firms’ earn­ings.

At 5pm, the rand bid at R13.4695 to the dol­lar, 10.64c firmer than at the same time on Wed­nes­day, and trad­ing at its strong­est lev­els since Septem­ber 29.

In fixed in­come, the yield for the bench­mark govern­ment bond slipped 3 ba­sis points to 8.675 per­cent.

Af­ter com­ing un­der pres­sure from a stronger dol­lar in re­cent weeks, the rand has been on the mend for three con­sec­u­tive ses­sions as higher bond yields lure for­eign in­vestors into the do­mes­tic mar­ket, boost­ing the cur­rency.

De­mand for the rand also comes as con­cerns over the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth have been soothed this week by stronger-than-ex­pected man­u­fac­tur­ing and min­ing data.

The Trea­sury said Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba would use meet­ings dur­ing the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund and World Bank an­nual con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton to con­vince in­vestors and rat­ings firms the econ­omy was im­prov­ing.

On the stock mar­ket, the bench­mark JSE Top40 in­dex fell 0.17 per­cent at 51 352.82 points, while the broader all share in­dex de­clined 0.04 per­cent to 57 747.34 points.

Naspers, which owns a third of China’s Ten­cent, shed 0.62 per­cent to close on R3 200 af­ter scal­ing a record peak of R3 227.35 in in­tra­day trad­ing. Gold Fields de­clined 2.88 per­cent to end the ses­sion at R54.36.

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