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#RandReport: Rand firmer as technical point to recovery

At 15.00 GMT the rand was 0.8% firmer at 13.4800 per dollar, marking a third consecutive day of gains amid a heavy emerging market selloff.

Picture: Pixabay.com.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand rose to its firmest in four sessions on Friday as investors took end-of-week profits following the currency’s slide to a 7-month low, with a break in negative news flow also helping the unit to stabilise.

Stocks were also higher, benefiting from the global retreat in risk-off sentiment and a jump by bourse heavyweight Naspers after full-year results showed a 72% increase in annual profit.

At 15.00 GMT the rand was 0.8% firmer at 13.4800 per dollar, marking a third consecutive day of gains amid a heavy emerging market selloff. Crucially, it was firmer than the 13.50 technical resistance which traders said could mark a run toward 13.40.

“It’s a continuation of the consolidation we’ve seen in the last few days. The rand failed to break 13.50 last week and it hasn’t this week so the next target is the 13.40 area,” said currency broker at Rand Merchant Bank Jim Bryson.

The rand plunged to its weakest level since early December on Tuesday on jitters about the brewing trade war between China and United States and electricity cuts by power utility Eskom, the first controlled outages across South Africa since 2015.

“The flow of negative news has dried up and that’s allowed for some profit-taking,” Bryson added.

Gold prices edged up from six-month lows on Friday, while auto catalyst metals platinum and palladium also rose, helping to cushion the rand.

Bonds ended the week slightly weaker, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 up 1 basis points to 8.8%.

Stocks gained on Thursday, lifted by e-commerce group Naspers which gained 3.1% to R3,307.

The blue-chip JSE Top-40 index rose 1.2% to 50,623 and the broader All-share was up 1.1% at 56,856.

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