South Africa’s rand jumps to 2-month high, stocks flat

JOHANNESBURG (Capital Markets in Africa) – South Africa’s rand gained more than two percent on Thursday to hit its strongest level in two months as the dollar plunged on concerns over U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s economic strategy.

Stocks were flat overall but luxury goods group Richemont gained 6 percent to reach a 10-month high after posting stronger than expected sales.

By 1501 GMT the rand had gained 2.2 percent to 13.4475 per dollar, following most currencies firmer against the greenback.

“It was largely global factors affecting the currency,” said ETM Analytics analyst Jana van Deventer.

“He (Trump) failed to offer clarity on the fiscal and economic direction his administration will take.”

Bonds strengthened along with the rand. The yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 fell 3.5 basis points to 8.680 percent, its firmest level since Nov. 8.

On the bourse, the JSE All-share index rose 0.01 percent to 52,444.36 points, while the benchmark Top-40 index declined 0.06 percent to 45,720.20.

Gold mining firms rallied after the bullion price surged to more than $1,200, its highest level in seven weeks, following Trump’s news briefing.

Anglogold Ashanti was the leader of the pack, advancing 4.3 percent to 163.85 rand, while Gold Fields gained 2.2 percent to 45.88 rand.

Trading was muted with 226 million shares changing hands, compared to the last year’s daily average of 296 million, according to preliminary bourse data.

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