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Rand weaker as stocks push higher despite rising US-China tensions

Stocks firmed on Thursday with risk-on sentiment remaining intact on optimism that global growth is recovering as economies reopen after coronavirus lockdowns.

South African rand.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - South African stocks firmed on Thursday with risk-on sentiment remaining intact on optimism that global growth is recovering as economies reopen after coronavirus lockdowns.

The Johannesburg All-Share index rose 1.77% to 51,389 points, while the Top-40 index climbed 1.80% to 47,440 points, led by Northam Platinum and Impala Platinum with prices of the metal nearly 1% by 1525 GMT.

Northam climbed almost 13% to a 2-1/2-month high, while miner Impala was up almost 11%.

“Global...stocks continued to trend higher as investors became more optimistic about the pace of the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and gave little attention to the ongoing U.S.-China confrontation over Hong Kong,” Hussein Sayed, Chief Market Strategist at FXTM, said in a note.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday announced a further easing of the country’s lockdown from June 1, allowing the vast majority of the economy to return to full capacity.

The government published guidelines on Thursday for how sectors will operate under much relaxed restrictions.

The rand gave up earlier gains having touched its strongest level since March 27. It traded at R17.4390 per dollar at 1542 GMT, down 0.43 from its previous close of R17.3760.

In fixed income, the yield on the 2030 government bond was down 5 basis points at 8.935%.