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Rand slips as stock market gains on easing lockdown rules

Hospitality shares rallied, with hotels, gaming and entertainment giant Sun International Ltd up around 8% and City Lodge Hotels Ltd up 9% at the close.

South African rand notes. Picture: pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG - Hospitality and gold mining firms led the South African stock market higher on Monday, maintaining last week’s mostly winning streak after President Cyril Ramaphosa removed coronavirus lockdown restrictions over the weekend.

Ramaphosa said that from midnight on Monday a ban on alcohol and tobacco sales would be lifted, travel between provinces would be allowed, and restaurants and taverns could return to normal business subject to hygiene protocols.

Indications were that COVID-19 infections had peaked, he said.

The benchmark FTSE/JSE all share index closed up 0.86% at 57,571 points, while the FTSE/JSE top 40 companies index ended up 1.01% at 53,270 points, approaching the all-time high above 55,000 points hit in November 2017.

Hospitality shares rallied, with hotels, gaming and entertainment giant Sun International Ltd up around 8% and City Lodge Hotels Ltd up 9% at the close.

Analysts said Ramaphosa’s announcement provided much-needed relief for South Africa.

“(Industries are) going to benefit from an uptick in turnover which is desperately needed,” said Ryan Woods, a trader with Independent Securities.

South Africa’s biggest cigarette seller British American Tobacco Plc was up 2.24%, while the gold mining index was up 5%.

The gains in the market were limited by the banking index losing over 2%. Petrochemicals major Sasol Ltd also shed 5% after it posted a $5 billion loss for the year ended June 30.

The rand lost ground after gaining earlier in the day, mirroring moves in other emerging market currencies including the Turkish lira.

By 1500 GMT, it was trading at R17.4800 per dollar, more than 0.52% weaker than its previous close.

Government bonds also weakened, with the yield on the 2030 bond up 11 basis points to 9.28%.

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