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Rand steadies at end of volatile week, stocks flat

Stocks ticked up boosted by gains in the gold sector.

rand-money-cash-currency-economyjpg

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s rand steadied against the dollar late on Friday, ending a volatile week that saw the unit range bound as risk appetite see-sawed over global trade war fears and tensions between the United States and Russia over Syria.

Stocks ticked up boosted by gains in the gold sector.

At 1616 GMT the rand was 0.15 percent weaker at 12.0750 per dollar, not far off Thursday’s close of 12.0575.

“The rand has been range bound ... neither deciding to weaken or strengthen much. It’s a wait and see approach as there are still some jitters regarding the trade war,” said portfolio manager from Afrifocus Securities, Cheslyn Francis.

“It’s quite psychological in the U.S. economy to see what they do over the spat between themselves and China.”

On Friday, U.S President Donald Trump said the U.S would look at re-joining the Trans Pacific Partnership, a multinational trade pact he withdrew the United States from early last year, if the deal were substantially better than the one offered to former President Barack Obama.

Global risk appetite in the week was also been impacted by uncertainty in the Middle East. Trump said a military strike on Syria may not be imminent.

However, the threat of a strike remained after Washington’s earlier warnings against the Syrian government for what is said was a suspected poison gas attack on its civilians.

Government bonds weakened, with yield on the benchmark 2026 paper up 0.5 basis points to 8.085 percent.

The equities market benefited from a weaker rand with the all share index ticking up 0.15 percent at 56,563 points. The benchmark top 40 index was on par with the All-share index closing 49,882 points at 0.15 percent.

Gains were seen in gold stocks which closed 2.7 percent higher in line with global bullion prices which headed for a second weekly gain on lingering uncertainty over Western military action in Syria

“The rand is trading a bit weaker and commodity prices are a bit higher which is good for our resource based market,” said Vasili Garisis of BP Bernstein.

Among the top gainers were AngloGold Ashanti up 1.9 percent and Sibanye-Stillwater climbed 1.6 percent.

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