JOHANNESBURG – The rand extended gains against the dollar on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates but signalled a gradual pace of rate hikes, while stocks rode a commodity rally higher.
At 23:50, the rand had firmed 0.36% to 12.7648 against the dollar as most emerging market currencies gained against the retreating greenback. It earlier hit a 19-month high of 12.6825.
“What we’re seeing is that the rand and many other emerging markets and commodity currencies have benefited from this week’s global developments,” said Macquarie First South Securities economist Elna Moolman.
After increasing the interest rate, the Fed stuck to its projections of three total rate hikes in 2017, instead of four, as was expected by many.
In fixed income, the yield of the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was down 12.5 basis points to 8.53%.
A broad-based commodities rally helped propel stocks higher as well as news that Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal was buying a 2 billion pound ($2.45 billion) stake in Anglo American , signalling a possible return to large-scale dealmaking in the sector.
Anglo’s Johannesburg shares shot up 6.5% to R203.47.
The benchmark Top-40 index closed 1.94% higher at 45,523.12 while the wider All-share index added just over 2% to 52,748.97.