Rand touches 2-week highs, JSE lower
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.