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Rand flat as dollar rebound blocks surge to 14 mark

At 1500 GMT, the rand was 0.1% firmer at 14.0750 per dollar, backtracking slightly after reaching a session-strongest 14.0375 before bids stalled just shy of the 14.00 technical resistance mark seen by traders as key to moves in either direction.

A man holds new South African banknotes at the value of ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred and two hundred South African Rand depicting former South African president Nelson Mandela at The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) on 13 July 2018. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The rand inched firmer on Monday, clinging on to a month’s worth of gains towards the crucial 14.00 mark despite the dollar recovering from its recent slump as trade tensions between Washington and Beijing thawed.

At 1500 GMT, the rand was 0.1% firmer at 14.0750 per dollar, backtracking slightly after reaching a session-strongest 14.0375 before bids stalled just shy of the 14.00 technical resistance mark seen by traders as key to moves in either direction.

“A short-term corrective bounce is developing, targeting the 14.1836 weekly low of 20 June, but any break should fade into consolidation beneath 14.4000,” analysts at Continuum Economics said in a note.

After tumbling to 15.170 on 7 June, the rand has advanced more than 7% to its firmest since mid-April, mostly aided by a dollar slide following the Federal Reserve’s dovish tone on lending rates.

The rand, however, faces pressure as demand switches back to the greenback following a reported truce between the United States and China on the sidelines of the G20 summit over the weekend.

President Donald Trump offered concessions including no new tariffs and an easing of restrictions on tech company Huawei in order to reduce tensions with Beijing.

On Monday, the dollar rose to two-week highs against a basket of major currencies.

Bonds were weaker, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 up 3 basis points to 8.125%.

On the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the benchmark Top 40 Index ended up 0.51% at 52,465 points, while the broader All-Share Index gained 0.61% at 58,560.

Global stocks rallied as the United States and China agreed to restart trade talks, leading investors to cut back wagers on aggressive policy easing by the major central banks.

Among the gainers was bourse heavyweight Naspers, which rose 2.92% to R3,519.20.

Further gains were curbed by the bullion sector which fell 5.64% weighed down by the spot gold price.

AngloGold Ashanti fell 6.78% to R236.79, Harmony Gold lowered 3.88% to R30.51 and Gold Fields closed down 4.63% to R73.20.