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#RandReport: Rand scales 3-week high on increased risk appetite

At 1500 GMT, the rand traded at 13.0125 per dollar, 0.89% firmer from its New York close on Friday.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand hit a three-week high against the dollar on Monday as emerging markets were buoyed by France's presidential election first-round win for the market's preferred candidate.

Stocks rose but gold mining firms anchored gains as safe haven assets were less in demand.

At 1500 GMT, the rand traded at 13.0125 per dollar, 0.89% firmer from its New York close on Friday. The unit was trading at its firmest levels since March 30, according to Thomson Reuters data.

"Following the first round of the French election we've seen some renewed risk appetite which has bode well for our currency," said IG South Africa senior market analyst Shaun Murison.

Uncertainties surrounding the French vote dissipated after Centrist Emmanuel Macron, a pro-EU and former economy minister, qualified for the May 7 runoff alongside far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 dipped 1 basis points to 8.635%.

On the stock market, the benchmark Top-40 index was up 1.51% firmer at 46,187 points, while the broader All-share index gained 1.39% to 52,921.

Gold shares weighed on the bourse as the gold mining index was down 5.4%.

The bullion price slid more than 1% on Monday, with Gold Fields the biggest loser among the blue-chips, falling 6.54% to R47.46.

Gold is often seen as a safe-haven among investors when there is uncertainty in political matters. Polls have consistently suggested that Macron would beat Le Pen in the second-round vote in France.

"If you look at France right now there is an element of certainty that certain parties or elements have been eliminated from the race," said Global Trader's Paul Chakaduka.

Sibanye Gold dropped 6.01% to R27.82, while AngloGold Ashanti was down by 5.03% to R157.56.

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