The Star Early Edition

Rand sinks to new low, stocks close flat


THE RAND set a new record low against the dollar on Friday as investors focused afresh on the possibilit­y of more Federal Reserve interest rate hikes after stronger-than-expected US jobs data. Stocks inched up only slightly. Before the release of the US jobs data, the rand had gained more than half a percent as Chinese markets steadied, reviving investors’ appetite for risky assets.

But the gain proved short-lived after the data, leaving the rand with its weakest ever opening week of the year.

At 5pm on Friday, the rand was bid at R16.1388 to the dollar, 14.04c softer than at the same time on Thursday, after reaching a record low of R16.215 earlier in the day..

On the bourse, stocks were flat with the benchmark JSE Top40 index inching up 0.16 percent to 43 253.3 points, while the broader all share index was up 0.11 percent to 48 104.68 points.

Anglo American dropped 3.86 percent to R55.22, a 17-year low, extending its slide to nearly 20 percent so far this year.

ArcelorMit­tal moved in the opposite direction, jumping 25.28 percent to R5.65 after reports on Thursday that the government had extended steel import duties.

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