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Commodity prices plunge hits stocks, rand

Further rand depreciation likely if Sarb raises rates.

Stocks ended in the red and the rand weakened against the dollar on Friday, reacting to falls in commodity prices which tumbled to multi-year lows on worries over a glut in supply and slower global economic growth.

The blue chip Top-40 index ended 1.73% down to 45,979 points and the broader All-share index slipped 1.65% to 51,199 points.

Bullion producer AngloGold Ashanti closed 3.3% down at R96.09, as gold steadied near six year lows but stayed on track for a fourth straight weekly loss, hurt by expectations the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next month for the first time in a decade.

“The US interest rate decision is having an effect across the market and all the stock exchanges around the world have been coming off and everything is red today,” BP Bernstein trader, Roberto Visetin said.

Clothing retailer Mr Price was the biggest gainer, rising 6.3% to R219 after reporting higher headline earnings and dividend for the 26 weeks to Sept. 26.

On the foreign exchange market, the rand hit a record low of 14.4290, in line with its emerging market peers after lower-than-expected US retail sales failed to deter dollar bulls. At 05h10 on Saturday the rand was 0.57% weaker at 14.3905.

US retail sales rose less than a Reuters poll of economists predicted but did not alter expectations that the US Federal Reserve may raise interest rates in December, pushing the dollar higher against major currencies.

Economists said the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) should not hike interest rates before the US does, citing weak economic growth, according to economists polled by Reuters. The SARB will announce its decision on Nov. 19.

“Should the MPC hike interest rates next week further marked rand depreciation is likely, particularly if the SARB makes the error of hiking by 50 basis points in an extremely weak economy with subsiding inflation expectations,” Investec economist Annabel Bishop said.

Government bonds weakened, with the benchmark government issue adding 4 basis points to 8.635%.


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