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#Rand Report: Rand firms on US rate expectations, stocks climb

At 1520 GMT the rand was up 0.3% at 13.6225 against the dollar, having closed at 13.6650 overnight in New York.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand firmed on Tuesday, gaining with other emerging market currencies on hopes of a pause to increases to US interest rates, while stocks also climbed.

At 1520 GMT the rand was up 0.3% at 13.6225 against the dollar, having closed at 13.6650 overnight in New York.

The currency has traded in a narrow range in the past two sessions, with moves largely driven by offshore events, especially the direction of lending rates in the United States and the continuing trade dispute between Washington and Beijing.

Investors expect the US Federal Reserve to adopt a more cautious policy stance than in 2018, pressured by signs of a peak in US corporate earnings and the threat of economic slowdown both at home and globally.

Locally, investors are holding off big bets on the rand ahead of the annual budget next month, leaving the currency in a range between 13.30 and 13.80.

Bonds weakened slightly, with the yield on benchmark paper due in 2026 up 0.5 basis points to 8.765%.

Stocks were on a high, however, with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s top-40 index rising 1.3% to 48,208 points and the broader all-share index up 1.2%.

Absa, one of South Africa’s big four lenders, led the way with a 6.2% advance to R186.50 per share after the company announced the departure of Chief Executive Maria Ramos.

The shares were buoyed by analyst and investor hopes that a new CEO, who will be recruited from outside the bank, will bring fresh perspective and deliver growth after years of declining market share.

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