#RandReport: Rand slips ahead of GDP data as global tensions weigh

At 1606 GMT the rand was 0.06% weaker at 12.9625 per dollar.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand weakened slightly against the dollar on Monday ahead of second-quarter GDP numbers and as safe-haven assets gained after a nuclear test by North Korea; but stocks were weaker.

At 1606 GMT the rand was 0.06% weaker at 12.9625 per dollar.

Statistics South Africa releases GDP figures on Tuesday and economists expects growth of 2.2% in the second quarter after a 0.7% contraction in the first quarter, but international factors weighed on the currency.

North Korea’s sixth and largest nuclear test, and reports from South Korea that Pyongyang was preparing for another missile launch, sparked warnings from Washington and a rush to safety by investors.

“Gold, Treasuries, Swiss Franc and the Yen have all outperformed, as investors try to assess the potential impact of North Korea’s nuclear test,” FXTM’s chief market Strategist at Hussein Sayed.

Bullion traded at close to above $1,334.26 an ounce at 1602 GMT, having touched its strongest level since late September at $1,339.47.

The statistics agency will release July mining and manufacturing data on Thursday. Also due this week are the August Standard Bank Purchasing Managers’ Index and the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s
(SACCI) business confidence index.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was up 1 basis point to 8.515%.

On the bourse, the benchmark Top-40 index was down 0.4% at 49,796.71 points, while the broader All-share index shed 0.4% to 56,312.85.

Bullion producers gained on the firmer gold price, with the Gold Mining index up 4.6%.

Cement maker PPC also rallied after announcing Canada’s Fairfax Africa Holdings has offered to buy a 22% stake in it for R2 billion ($154 million).

The cash injection is aimed at strong-arming the debt-laden company into a tie-up with its nearest unlisted rival AfriSam and sent the PPC shares up 8.8% to R554.04.

Ecommerce giant Naspers, which owns a third of China’s Tencent Holdings, weighed on the bourse, retreating from a recent high.

Naspers, which is up 44% so far this year and is Africa’s largest company, closed 1.2% weaker at R2,895.38.