Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Rand Still on the Ropes, As Stocks Inch Down
06 April 2016 at 21:09pm
By Reuters

Johannesburg - South Africa's rand bounced back on Wednesday as bets on the currency varied, with focus shifting away from domestic political upheaval to minutes of the United States central bank's last meeting due later in the session.

Stocks were down slightly as financials and retailers weighed on the bourse, but resources rallied.

By 1545 GMT the rand had softened 0.65 percent to 15.1850 per dollar, recovering from a more than 1 percent slide after ratings firm S&P said political turmoil posed a risk to the country's credit rating.

Government bonds were weaker, with the benchmark 2026 issue adding 3 basis points to 9.29 percent.

“When you look at the markets today, there is some element of disappointment regarding the events of the last week since the Constitutional Court ruling,” said senior economist at Nedbank Isaac Matshego.

On Tuesday President Jacob Zuma survived an impeachment motion by the opposition following last week's court ruling that he had violated the constitution by ignoring an order to repay some of the $16 million in state funds spent on his home.

Minutes from the Fed's March meeting will be searched by investors for clues on the pace of interest rate hikes, with the tone of the minutes likely to affect emerging currencies, Matshego said.

Banks and retailers, who have large exposure to the domestic economy, declined after S&P also revised its growth forecast for this year downward, Nedbank Private Wealth portfolio manager Kyle Burgess said.

Barclays Africa Group was the biggest loser among the blue-chips, declining 6.55 percent to 132 rand, with the other major banks also closing in the red.

Fashion retailer Mr Price was down 5.06 percent at 169 rand.

Resource stocks picked up after sharp declines on Tuesday, with Anglogold Ashanti and Anglo American Platinum leading the JSE's blue-chips.

Shares in the bullion producer rose 4.38 percent to 212 rand, while the platinum miner was up 3.05 at 364.95 rand.

The benchmark Top-40 index was 0.06 percent weaker at 45,084 points while the All-Share index declined 0.08 percent to 51,184 points.

Trade was below par with around 248 million shares changing hands, compared with last year's daily average of 296 million, according to preliminary bourse data.


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