#RandReport: Rand rand firms as US jobs data hits dollar

At 1315 GMT the rand was 0.48% firmer at 15.4750 per dollar, its firmest since 26 June.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand firmed on Friday after US employment data disappointed dollar bulls, while stocks took a hit from fears about the beginning of a US-China trade war.

At 1315 GMT the rand was 0.48% firmer at 15.4750 per dollar, its firmest since 26 June.

Traders said resistance level around 13.50 was attracting buyers, and that a close beneath the level would open the door to 13.20, but the long-term bet remained in favour of the dollar.

“Once the rand traded below 13.75 it was bound to trade stronger, and the weaker than expected nonfarm payrolls added to the flow,” said trader at Rand Merchant Bank Jan Sluis-Cremer.

“But we really need a close below 13.55, 13.60 levels to move stronger. It’s going to be a slow, hard grind and we’ll need a lot of factors to be in the rand’s favour.”

While the US economy created more jobs than expected in June, a closely-watched inflation gauge — wage growth — rose less than forecast, further dampening fears its central bank would raise rates more than the four times promised by the bank.

Bonds also firmed, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 falling 7 basis points to 8.66%, its lowest in a month.

Shares fell for a second straight session amid the renewed trade-war dispute between the United States and China.

The benchmark Top-40 index lost 0.14% to 51,122 points while the broader All-share index was down 0.17% to 57,313 points.

“The U.S. went ahead with the tariffs. There are worries that there will be counter tariffs from China. Russia has also imposed capital goods which has affected our stocks like Barloworld. The market is locking in their profits ahead of the weekend,” said Cratos Capital equities trader Greg Davies.

Barloworld closed down at 4.80% to R124.

The banking index fell 1.77% with Standard Bank falling by the most at 2.57% to R192.00.