Saturday Star

Rand gains on US jobs data, bourse declines

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THE RAND gained more than 1 percent to just short of a two-month peak yesterday after a jobs report from the US showed wages there remained subdued, dimming the chances of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

At 5pm, the rand was bid at R13.2861 to the dollar, 4.25c firmer than at the same time on Thursday, after earlier reaching R13.2075.

The local unit had drifted around the R13.45 resistance point for most of the session, with little in the local market to push the unit definitive­ly past the level it has struggled to break since mid-January.

“Markets were focussed on the wage number, and it came in lower than expected. The initial reaction by the rand was that you wouldn’t see imminent and aggressive interest rate hikes by the Fed in future,” said chief economist at Stanlib, Kevin Lings.

Meanwhile, stocks fell , dragged lower by mining companies that were hurt in part by a pullback in metal prices.

The benchmark JSE Top40 index slipped 0.97 percent to 45 417.57 points, while the all share index fell 0.86 percent to 52 265.16 points.

Kumba Iron Ore

led the slide by commodity miners, falling 7.96 percent to R196.05 by close of trade. – Reuters

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