#RandReport: Rand on course for 3rd day of gains, stocks rise
The rand was a touch firmer than against a wobbly dollar, on track for a third consecutive daily gain.
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's rand was a touch firmer against a wobbly dollar on Thursday, on track for a third consecutive daily gain as investors found renewed appetite for high yielding emerging markets.
Stocks also advanced with platinum mining companies among top gainers as investors chased after bargains following sharp losses in recent weeks on worries about the global economy.
The rand was unfazed by South Africa's trade department data showing a year-on-year drop in September vehicle sales, the latest sign that the economy remains in dire straits.
The local currency climbed to 13,7170 to the dollar, its strongest in 1-1/2 weeks, and was trading 0,11 percent firmer at 13,8400 by 1510 GMT compared with Wednesday's close.
The gains extended to the debt market, where the benchmark 2026 issue was yielding 8,42 percent at the close, up four basis points from the previous day.
Traders and analysts said commodity currencies had found a reprieve from their recent battering after surveys showed Chinese manufacturing activity was stronger than many investors had feared.
"It appears as if markets are relieved about this print with commodities and the rand finding some support," Standard Bank said in a market note. With market risk appetite marginally stronger today and ahead of US non-farm payrolls (jobs) numbers tomorrow, we would not be surprised to see a reduction in short emerging market FX positions."
Slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy, coupled with the prospect of higher US interest rates this year, have dampened appetite for emerging market assets, driving the rand nearly 20 percent weaker against the dollar this year.
On the bourse, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and rival Lonmin dominated the gainers' list, recouping heavy losses suffered earlier this week on fears that revelations of Volkswagen's falsification of US vehicle emission tests could affect demand for diesel cars.
Amplats climbed 6,8 percent to R244,58, paring losses so far this year to about 28 percent, and Lonmin rallied 8,6 percent to R3,82.
The benchmark JSE Top-40 index added 0.83 percent to 45,252 and the broader All-share index gained 0.85 percent to 50,516.
Trade was active with 238 million shares changing hands, above last year's daily average of 183 million shares.