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#RandReport: Rand eases as dollar edges up, stocks rise

The dollar bounced after President Donald Trump’s economic adviser said the US administration was negotiating with China, not engaging in a trade war.

FILE: Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s rand weakened against the dollar on Thursday as the greenback rose amid signs the United States may negotiate a resolution to a trade dispute with China, while stocks edged higher.

At 15.28 GMT, the rand was at 11.9825 per dollar, 0.95% weaker than Wednesday’s close.

The dollar bounced after President Donald Trump’s economic adviser said the US administration was negotiating with China, not engaging in a trade war, easing investor fears about tit-for-tat measures hurting global growth.

The rand has lost more than 1% against the dollar since 29 March, according to Thomson Reuters data, as the trade tiff between the world’s two largest economies escalated.

ETM analyst Halen Bothma said the rand was also undermined by concerns about the government’s fiscal position, highlighted this week by the tax service admitting it had missed its revenue collection target and Moody’s downgrading state power giant Eskom.

A survey on Thursday showed South African business confidence fell in March, in a sign that momentum in the economy has slowed since a sharp rebound in the wake of Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as leader of the ruling African National Congress in late December.

A separate survey showed private-sector activity expanded at a slower pace in March as the rate of increase in output and new orders eased.

In the equities market, the all-share index bounced back from the previous session's lows, up 2.12% to 55,761 points. The benchmark top-40 index rose 2.18% to 49,097 points.

The market recovered in line with other emerging stocks as buying came back into previously oversold shares, with the banking sector lifting 2.17% and general retailers rising 1.87%.

“There seems to be a lot of opportunistic buying and bargain hunting for shares that are down here. We have seen a lot of foreign investors coming back into our market over the last few months,” said Vasili Girasis, an equity trader at BP Bernstein.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond fell 3 basis points to 8.04%, reflecting firmer bond prices.