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#RandReport: Rand on course for weekly gains, stocks up

At 1515 GMT, the rand traded at 14.3550 per dollar, 0.28% stronger than its previous close.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s rand was on course on Friday for a gain on the week despite the dollar’s bounce as markets remained wary of pushing the greenback higher with the threat of a United States (US) government shutdown and lower bond yields weighing on sentiment.

Stocks ended higher, helped by gains in bourse heavyweight Naspers.

At 1515 GMT, the rand traded at 14.3550 per dollar, 0.28% stronger than its previous close. The rand is on course for a 0.22% gain against the dollar this week.

Analysts at NKC African Economics said in a note that the rand was mostly range bound in the week.

“The rand initially benefited from a weaker US dollar, thanks to bets that the (US Federal Reserve) would ease its monetary policy considering the recent correction in global equity prices,” they said.

“However, the rand pared gains later in the week as the Fed was not dovish enough to the market’s liking and uncertainty over the Brexit deal and a possible US government shutdown weighed on risk sentiment.”

The rand touched 14.1100 on Wednesday, its strongest level for the week thanks to a weaker dollar. A rebound in the dollar on Friday saw the South African currency weakening to a session low of 14.5050 before staging a recovery.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond maturing in 2026 ended flat at 9%.

On the bourse, the Top-40 index rose 0.44% to 45,554, while the broader all-share was up 0.16% to 51,430.

Naspers rose 2.77% to R2,880 after Hong Kong-listed technology giant Tencent, in which it has 31% stake, closed higher.

Tencent’s shares surged on Friday after a China regulatory official said some new video games had been cleared for sale, ending a lengthy freeze in approvals that has spooked players in the world’s largest gaming market.

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