South Africa’s rand recovered lost ground to the US dollar, firming below the key R16 level overnight on Tuesday, after weakening to almost R16.32 to the greenback on Friday following confirmation of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant in the country.
The rand recovered to around R15.89 on Tuesday night to the dollar. It firmed further, to R15.81 in early morning trade on Wednesday, largely on the back of reported dollar weakness on concerns around the new variant.
With Omicron cases being discovered in more countries internationally, the new variant is becoming a global concern.
In addition to the rand’s recovery since the start of this week, the JSE has also gained some lost ground since Friday.
Africa’s largest stock exchange closed back above the new psychological level of 70 000 points on Tuesday.
The JSE’s All Share Index (Alsi) was 0.67% firmer at 70 475, while the key Top40 index closed 0.73% up.
Both the rand and the JSE seem to have been buoyed by the fact that President Cyril Ramaphosa did not move South Africa into more stringent lockdown restrictions on Sunday, following news of the Omicron variant and increasing Covid infection numbers in the country.
Mining stocks led the gains, with Gold Fields up 8.87%, while AngloGold and Harmony were up around 7%.
Aspen Pharmacare, which announced progress around a deal with Johnson & Johnson to produce the multi-national’s Covid-19 vaccine for Africa, closed 6.26% firmer.
Other major gainers on Tuesday included Implats, which was up 5.81%, with Growthpoint Properties and Telkom both up over 5%.