#RandReport: Rand firms, stocks weaken

By 1645 GMT the rand gained 0.5 percent to 15.3820 per dollar, marching to its firmest level in nearly a week.

Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand gained on Tuesday following the long Easter weekend, rising alongside other emerging currencies as risk sentiment recovered ahead of a speech by US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

Stocks were weaker, with Anglo American weighing on the local bourse as a lower global oil price hit other resources.

By 1645 GMT the rand gained 0.5 percent to 15.3820 per dollar, marching to its firmest level in nearly a week after the greenback slipped on a slightly lower-than-expected rise in single-family US home prices in January.

Government bonds were also firmer, with yields on the benchmark paper due in 2026 shedding 2.5 basis points to 9.36 percent.

Yellen's comments will be scanned for clues on the pace of US interest rates hikes, and in lieu of any local data in the session, traders said the rand would take its lead from offshore events.

"Overall, starting with this evening, the week ahead could be a more positive one for the rand, political developments notwithstanding," analysts at Bidvest Bank said in a note.

Anglo American was the biggest loser among the Johannesburg Securities Exchange's blue-chips as resource stocks followed crude lower.

"A key driver for these resource stocks is always the oil price," said Cratos Capital equities trader Greg Davies.

Despite a recent rally, oil prices continued to fall on Tuesday as oversupply fears resurfaced.

Anglo closed 3.95 percent lower at R105.87, while its larger rival BHP Billiton declined 3.57 percent to R164.89.

The benchmark Top-40 index was down 1.14 percent at 45,819 points while the All-Share index receded 1.03 percent to 51,787 points.

Trade was muted after the long weekend with around 196 million shares changing hands, compared with last year's daily average of 296 million, according to preliminary bourse data.

South Africa publishes monthly trade, budget and vehicle sales data later in the week.