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#RandReport: Rand gains after weak US payrolls, stocks rise

The rand firmed 1 percent to 13,5915 per dollar, as emerging market currencies took advantage of dollar.

FILE: Stocks also jumped, with Glencore leading mining companies higher on hopes the beleaguered company would sell some assets to cut its debt. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand firmed on Monday alongside other emerging market currencies after softer-than-expected employment data from the United States dampened the prospect of an interest rate there in 2015.

Stocks also jumped, with Glencore leading mining companies higher on hopes the beleaguered company would sell some assets to cut its debt.

At 1530 GMT the rand firmed one percent to 13,5915 per dollar, as emerging market currencies took advantage of a weaker greenback.

"The strength we are seeing in the market is predominantly because of the nonfarm payrolls numbers coming out softer than expected," said trader Alexa Nicolau of RMB.

The rand shrugged off data early in the session showing PMI had sunk to a 14-month low as the economy continued to sag under the weight of electricity shortages, labour unrest and weak domestic demand.

Government bonds tracked the currency firmer, with the benchmark issue due in 2026 shedding 10 basis points to 8,25 percent, its firmest in nearly two months.

On the bourse, Glencore soared as much as 22 percent, before giving up some of the gains to close 16,05 percent higher at 22,78 rand.

Reuters reported on Friday that Glencore was in talks with a Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund and China's state-backed grain trader COFCO, along with Canadian pension funds, to sell a stake in its agricultural assets.

Overall, traders took their cue from higher overseas markets as expectations of a US interest rate hike this year faded following weak jobs data last Friday.

The blue-chip JSE Top-40 index was up 2,24 percent to 46,693 and the broader All-share index picked up 2,19 percent to 52,071.

Other gainers included Imperial Holdings, climbing 3,25 percent to 178,03 rand after the company said it would sell its 65 percent stake its German container shipping business for $84 million.

Trade was robust with more than 208 million shares changing hands, above last year's daily average of 183 million shares.