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Rand stronger as dollar slips, stocks down

The US dollar fell against a basket of major currencies for a fifth consecutive trading day on Tuesday, reaching its lowest level in over two years, under pressure from low yields and bleak economic data in the United States.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The rand firmed against the dollar on Tuesday, as market sentiment improved after a coronavirus-induced lockdown was lifted over the weekend, while a weaker US currency also helped the local unit.

At 1500 GMT, the rand traded at R17.3350 per dollar, 0.97% stronger than its previous close.

"Buying sentiment towards the local currency has been stimulated by a sweeping removal of lockdown restrictions over the weekend, while dollar weakness continues to support upside gains," said Lukman Otunuga, senior research analyst at FXTM.

“The USDZAR has found resistance below R17.50. A broadly weaker dollar could drag prices back towards R17.15 in the short term,” Otunuga added.

The US dollar fell against a basket of major currencies for a fifth consecutive trading day on Tuesday, reaching its lowest level in over two years, under pressure from low yields and bleak economic data in the United States.

In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday announced a further easing of the country’s strict coronavirus lockdown.

Official forecasts predict gross domestic product will contract by at least 7% this year, extending the pain for an economy that was already in recession before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

Stocks dipped, as petrochemicals major Sasol extended its losses after it said on Monday it will issue up to $2 billion of shares as it battles high debt, lower oil and chemicals prices, and the coronavirus crisis.

Sasol shares were down 5% at R131.95.

The benchmark FTSE/JSE all share index closed down 0.71% at 57,025 points, while the FTSE/JSE top 40 companies index ended lower 0.76% at 52,738 points.

In fixed income, the yield on the 2030 bond was flat at 9.28%.

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