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Rand ends week on stronger footing

The rand rose on Friday, lifted by improved appetite for riskier currencies amid steady US jobs growth.

Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand rose on Friday, lifted by improved appetite for riskier currencies amid steady US jobs growth.

At 1615 GMT, the rand was 0.8% firmer than its previous close at R15.04 per US dollar.

Global investor sentiment was dented this week by poor US economic data which also fed through into the rand, which some traders use as a proxy for emerging market risk.

But US jobs data on Friday suggested the outlook for the world’s largest economy may not be as bad as some had feared.

In the absence of local data releases, that was enough to lift South African assets.

The yield on South Africa’s benchmark 2026 government bond fell 6 basis points to 8.185%, reflecting a higher bond price.

Stocks were up, with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s All-Share Index rising 0.5% to 53,993 points and the blue-chip Top-40 Index closing 0.48% higher at 47,975 points.

Financials and other sectors that benefit from positive economic sentiment were the biggest winners, with mobile operators MTN, banks, such as FirstRand and retailers, including Shoprite leading the index higher.