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Rand weakens slightly, resources lift stocks

Rand investors cautious ahead of mid-week data

The rand weakened slightly on Monday, struggling to regain the momentum that lifted it to a five-week best as traders opted for caution with key local economic indicators due later in the week and offshore risks still uncertain.

At 1515 GMT the rand was 0.18% weaker at R14.11 per dollar compared to a close at R14.09 on Friday.

South Africa publishes its monthly business confidence index on Wednesday followed by manufacturing and mining production figures on Thursday, data that investors will scrutinise for the economic effects of recent national electricity blackouts.

On Friday the currency rallied as far as R14.02, its best since February. 28, shortly after employment data from the United States showed that non-farm payrolls rose by 196,000 jobs last month while wage growth had slowed.

But a risk-off mood as Monday’s session commenced kept the rand above the R14.00 mark, a key technical and psychological level targeted by rand bulls looking to lock in the price before volatility intensifies ahead of May 8 national elections.

Bonds were slightly weaker, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 up 0.5 basis points to 8.515%.

In the equities market, commodity stocks topped the gainers as gold prices hit an over a week peak on Monday, on the back of a weaker dollar. A stronger platinum price also lifted platinum shares.

The Johannesburg All-Share index gained 0.36% to 57,986 points, while the Top 40 index rose by 0.37% to 51,706 points.

The top climbers were Royal Bafokeng Platinum, which gained by 9.36% to R35.98, Harmony Gold which climbed 7.5% to R28.37 and Anglo American Platinum which rose 5.02% to R835.

Also moving the market was South Africa’s second-biggest grocery store chain Pick n Pay, which closed 4% firmer at R69.90 after saying it expects its full-year diluted headline earnings per share to rise up to 30%. 

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