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Rand firmer on lower risk aversion; stocks up

Currency inches firmer on subdued trade globally.

The rand inched firmer on Monday on subdued trade as weak retail sales from the United States and nervousness globally over Western missiles fired at Syria at the weekend kept investors on the sidelines.

Stocks rose led by banks.

At 1632 GMT the rand was 0.12% firmer at 12.06 per dollar compared to 12.08 close on Friday in New York. The rand has traded in a narrow range over the last few sessions, breaching the R12 per dollar mark briefly last week before worries of trade global war and mixed economic data from China reawakened risk-off sentiment.

On Monday, US retail sales in March rose following three months of declines but failed to dispel some traders’ worries about economic growth cooling, hobbling the dollar.

Emerging market currencies were also aided by firmer metal prices, with spot gold up 0.3% at $1 346.91 an ounce and platinum rising 0.7% to $934.

In fixed income, government bonds were flat, with the yield on the benchmark instrument due in 2026 at 8.085%.

On the bourse, the benchmark Top 40 Index gained 0.48% to 50 121 points while the All Share Index rose 0.3% to 56 733 points.

FirstRand rose 1.73% to R67, while resources suffered due to the stronger rand.

On the downside, one of the biggest decliners was Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd fell 7.16% to R21.66.

AngloGold Ashanti, Africa’s largest gold producer, closed 1.5% lower at R111.65, after the firm announced that its CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan would take the top job at mining conglomerate Vedanta Resources Plc.

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