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Rand retreats, Naspers lifts stocks

‘It’s been a consolidation session for emerging markets. There has been little impetus.’

South Africa’s rand eased on Monday as the dollar neared a two-week high, while Naspers boosted stocks on expectations of positive news about the spin-off of its pay-TV business, which duly emerged after the market close.

At 1555 GMT, the rand traded at R13.86 versus the dollar, down 0.2% from its previous close.

The rand followed several other emerging market currencies lower after the dollar shrugged off concerns about weakening global growth and data that showed China’s economy slowed sharply in 2018.

“It’s been a consolidation session for emerging markets. There has been little impetus,” said Kieran Siney, analyst at ETM Analytics.

“Although it’s been a downbeat start to the week for the rand we maintain our view that there is room for appreciation in the medium term.”

Government bonds were slightly weaker, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 instrument up 0.5 basis points at 8.910%.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s top-40 index closed 0.95% stronger, at 48,037 points, while the broader all-share index was up 0.76% to 54,139 points.

Tile retailer and manufacturer Italtile led the all-share index higher after reporting good sales data in a difficult climate, while paper and pulp manufacturer Sappi topped the top-40 index, up 3.9%.

Bourse heavyweight Naspers rose 3.3% on what traders said was sentiment around its plans to unbundle its pay-TV business Multichoice.

After the market close, Naspers said its plan to list Multichoice had been conditionally approved by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, shares in South Africa’s largest retailer Shoprite closed 2.17% down after the Competition Tribunal fined its ticket selling subsidiary R20 million for anticompetitive behaviour – a decision the firm said it would appeal. 

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