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#RandReport: Rand firms in line with emerging markets, stocks rise

At 1500 GMT, the rand traded at 13.8500 per dollar, 0.05% firmer, having closed on Friday at 13.8575.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s rand firmed slightly against a softer dollar on Monday, in line with emerging markets, as focus remained on clues on the US Federal Reserve’s 2019 hiking cycle and the high-stakes meeting between the leaders of China and the US

Stocks were firmer along with other emerging markets on the back of improved sentiment.

At 1500 GMT, the rand traded at 13.8500 per dollar, 0.05% firmer, having closed on Friday at 13.8575.

“The local currency is expected to trade at under 14.00 for now. The focus will fall on key global events: the meeting between US and China; media addresses by the Federal Reserve Chairman,” said Bianca Botes of Peregrine Treasury Solutions.

The rand remains under pressure ahead of the speech by the US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and policy-meeting minutes that may give clues on the 2019 rates, as a hike is expected in December.

At a G20 meeting in Buenos Aires on 30 November, US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to discuss contentious trade matters which would have an impact on currencies, ahead of the next scheduled escalation in tariff hikes.

The rand hit a three-month high after S&P Global Ratings kept its foreign and local currency ratings unchanged late on Friday, with a “stable” outlook.

Bonds were weaker, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 government bond up 2.5 basis points to 8.960%.

In equities, the blue-chip Top 40 index gained 2.27% to 45,545 points while the All Share index rose 1.96% to 51,690 points. Banks were 3.48% firmer.

“A lot of relatively small things have happened in the past week which have improved sentiment but the biggest one is that the market hopes Donald Trump and China will come to a deal on Friday,” said Wayne McCurrie, FNB Wealth and Investments portfolio manager.

Trump and Xi are expected to meet on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Argentina at the end of this week.

Retailer Pepkor Holdings Ltd, formerly Steinhoff Africa Retail, has been fined R5 million by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) for breaching listing requirements including loans to directors or key management personnel in its pre-listing statement and 2017 financial results.

“This is actually quite serious and I have never seen this happen before. The fine is nothing but what the JSE is saying is that they lied in their prospectus and did not disclose material information. They might be lining themselves up for future legal action from irate shareholders,” McCurrie said.

Pepkor closed 7.55% higher at R19.79.

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