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#RandReport: Rand firmer on risk sentiment rally, stocks falter

At 1617 GMT, the rand was 0.4% stronger at 14.1150 per dollar versus 14.1700 overnight in New York.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand firmed on Wednesday as a jump in domestic retail sales and a global return of risk sentiment helped the currency claw back earlier losses.

Stocks were down with Healthcare group Mediclinic hitting a session-low of 19% on an expected downturn in its first-half earnings.

At 1617 GMT, the rand was 0.4% stronger at 14.1150 per dollar versus 14.1700 overnight in New York.

South Africa’s retail sales rose 2.5% year-on-year in August as household goods, clothing and cosmetics grew, with recovering consumer spending a possible sign the economy is climbing out of a recession that has piled pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Today’s stronger-than-expected figures are encouraging and will boost third-quarter growth given that consumer spending accounts for about 60% of GDP,” Nedbank said in a note.

The rand has been on the back foot following second-quarter gross domestic product data on 4 September which showed the economy had entered a recession.

Government bonds were flat, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 at 9.120%.

On the bourse, the All-Share index fell 1.6% to 52,391 points while the blue-chip Top-40 index fell 1.79% 46,164 points.

Healthcare group Mediclinic closed 16.9% down to R73.96 after it flagged an 8% drop in core profit for the first six months of the year. Its shares had tumbled 19% earlier in the session.

On the flip side, South African building materials retailer Cashbuild rose 0.17% to 258.89 after it reported revenue was up 3% in the first quarter compared with the year-ago period.

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