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Rand firms as dollar slips, stocks flat

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark 10-year issue fell 1.5 basis points to 8.575%.

The rand firmed on Friday, recovering from a four-week low touched in the previous session, as the dollar slipped after US economic growth data. Stocks ended flat.

At 1520 GMT the rand traded R14.30 to the dollar, 0.97% firmer than its New York close on Thursday. The currency had slipped to R14.55 on Thursday, its weakest price since March 29.

“US GDP data would have driven a lot of people back into emerging market currencies, of which the rand would have benefited because there has been a sell-off over the last two or three days,” said Sanlam Private Wealth portfolio manager Gary McNamara.

The dollar fell to a session low against a basket of currencies on Friday, after data showed US GDP accelerated in the first quarter. But the burst in growth was driven by trade and the largest accumulation of unsold goods since 2015 – temporary factors that are likely to reverse in the coming quarters.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark 10-year issue fell 1.5 basis points to 8.575%.

On the bourse, the benchmark JSE Top 40 Index closed 0.19% higher at 52,572 while the broader All-Share Index finished 0.15% higher at 58,894.

The markets had closed two hours earlier due to a software upgrade, the exchange operator JSE Limited said.

Mining firm Goldfields was among the top performers in the blue-chip index, rising by 0.97% to R55.44 after the Bank of Montreal raised their rating to outperform from underperform. 

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