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Rand at 19-month high, Naspers leads stocks higher

The focus this week will be on Q4 current account data and monthly consumer inflation.

South Africa’s rand rose to its strongest level in 19 months on Monday, extending gains to the fourth straight session as the US Federal Reserve’s less hawkish-than-expected comments continued to drag the US dollar lower.

The rand traded 0.51% firmer at 12.6509 per dollar, a level last seen in early August 2015.

Locally, the focus this week will be on fourth-quarter current account data and monthly consumer inflation, both due out on Wednesday.

“We expect a current account deficit that could come close to 3.2% of GDP. That is very supportive for a strengthening currency,” said Rand Merchant Bank economist Isaah Mhlanga.

A Reuters poll of 16 economists expects South Africa’s fourth quarter current account deficit to narrow to 3.5% of gross domestic product compared with 4.1% the previous quarter.

On the bourse, stocks ended higher with Naspers topping the gainers’ list on the blue-chip index ahead of quarterly results from its Chinese money spinner, Tencent Holdings.

The blue-chip Top-40 index gained 0.44% to 45,507 and the broader All-share index added 0.4% to 52,753.

Naspers, South Africa’s biggest company by market value, rose 3.3% to R2,291.20. Naspers owns about a third of Tencent, which is due to report its fourth quarter results on Wednesday.

In fixed income, government bonds weakened with the yield on 2026 benchmark up 0.6 basis points at 8.456%.

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Richus Nel

Richus Nel

Brenthurst Wealth
Moneyweb Click an Advisor
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Moneyweb Investor Issue 24

The relative strength of the rand has seen South Africans relax since the cabinet reshuffle and sovereign downgrades by S&P and Fitch. Don't be deceived - this is a self-inflicted wound. In the May issue of The Moneyweb Investor, we take a closer look to see which companies are likely to thrive and which will not, in the post-downgrade world.