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Rand falls on firm dollar, weak data

Stocks declined, led by gold miners, as the price of the yellow metal dropped.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand weakened on Thursday as the US dollar firmed and weak domestic mining and manufacturing data pointed to soft economic growth at the start of the year.

Stocks declined, led by gold miners, as the price of the yellow metal dropped.

At 1502 GMT the rand had weakened by 0.5% to 13.9925 per dollar.

The dollar index, which measures the currency against a basket of six others, rose on Thursday after reports that US March producer prices had posted the biggest rise in five months, and after weekly jobless claims fell to the lowest since 1969.

Locally, data from Statistics South Africa showed that mining output was down 7.5% year-on-year in February, while manufacturing production barely grew, rising by 0.6%.

“The latest activity figures add to the evidence that growth in South Africa softened at the start of 2019. Conditions will probably pick up later in the year, but growth will remain tepid,” said John Ashbourne, senior emerging markets economist at Capital Economics.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 added 3.5 basis points for 8.49%.

On the bourse, the broader All-Share index fell 0.39% to 58,186, while the blue-chip Top-40 index declined 0.42% to 51,942.

Gold stocks fell 2.97% with AngloGold Ashanti shedding 3.5% to R184.92 and rival Gold Fields slipping 3.18% to R53.30.

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