#RandReport: Rand rallies on Chinese trade, stocks falter

The rand briefly touched a session high of 16.3575 to the greenback & was 1.74 percent firmer at 16.3800.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand rallied more than one percent against the dollar on Wednesday as risk-sensitive currencies recovered after better-than-expected Chinese trade data, while stocks edged lower.

Traders said the mood on the local market was still fragile after an extremely volatile start to 2016, driven by worries about the ailing local economy, which is beset by a crippling drought and uncertainty over fiscal policy and China's economy.

The rand briefly touched a session high of 16.3575 to the greenback and was 1.74 percent firmer at 16.3800 by 1501 GMT compared with Tuesday's close.

This was in line with Asian shares which made their first real rally of the year on Wednesday after Chinese trade data beat expectations, offering a rare chink of light for the global economy.

"There is a good chance that the markets take a little breather now and try to consolidate after the almost consistent risk aversion since the start of the year," Standard Bank trader Warrick Butler said.

On the debt market, the yield for the benchmark government bond maturing in 2026 added two basis points to 9.575 percent from Tuesday's closing level.

The benchmark Top-40 index lost 0.15 percent to 43,422 points, while the All-share was mostly flat at 48,412 points.

Gold firms such as Gold Fields and AngloGold Ashanti fell lower as spot prices for the yellow metal slid for a fourth straight session following a recovery in global stocks, reducing its safe-haven appeal.

Gold rallied to a nine-week top of $1,112 last week, but expectations of further U.S. interest rate increases lowered demand for the non-interest-paying metal while boosting the dollar.

Gold Fields fell 3.3 percent to 50.60 rand while AngloGold dipped 0.11 percent to R129.40.

Topping the gainers list was Jasco Electronics, which jumped 27.6 percent to 60 cents after the technology company flagged sharply higher first-half earnings.

Trade was active with 263 million shares changing hands, according to preliminary bourse data.