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Rand firms as dollar, stocks fall

The dollar fell as weak US data deepened concerns over economic growth and bolstered bets for further interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand firmed on Thursday thanks to a weaker dollar, as investors fretted that weakness in the US manufacturing and service sectors could herald a slowdown in the world’s largest economy.

At 1610 GMT, the rand was 0.98% firmer at R15.1400.

The dollar fell as weak US data deepened concerns over economic growth and bolstered bets for further interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.

Lower US interest rate expectations lift investors’ appetite for emerging markets assets, which offer higher returns but carry more risk.

Investors will now be eyeing the US non-farm payrolls release on Friday.

Stocks, on the other hand, suffered as a result of the negative sentiment. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s All-Share Index fell 0.51% to 53,727 points, while the blue-chip Top-40 Index shed 0.54% to 47,743 points.

Gold stocks were on the up as investors sought a safe haven. Anglo American Platinum rose 6.47% to R1057.5, followed by AngloGold Ashanti, up 3% to R303, and Sibanye Gold, which closed 2.8% higher at R23.51. Impala Platinum and Goldfields also benefited.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 fell 3.5 basis point to 8.245%.