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Rand firmer on dollar dip, trade surplus, stocks gain

Bonds led a recovery in South African markets on Friday, with the rand also edging firmer, helped by combination of the trade balance remaining in surplus and a pause in dollar’s recent rally. Stocks followed world markets higher.

At 1445 GMT, the rand was 0.26% firmer at 13.48 per dollar, moving well clear of the 5-month low of 13.71 touched in the previous session. Government bonds roared ahead, with the yield on benchmark paper due in 2026 falling 10 basis points to 8.535%.

South African assets rallied immediately after US data showed almost no increase in consumer spending for August and an annual inflation increase that was the slowest pace since late 2015, and the dollar index fell to its lowest in three days.

The rand at one stage traded as firm as 13.43 on short-covering, with technical resistance at 13.40 on the horizon.

South Africa recorded a seventh consecutive trade surplus in August, at nearly R6 billion.

“The results will continue to support the rand against key currencies and will compress the country’s current account deficit in the short run,” said Standard Bank’s Head of Commercial Banking Karl Gotte.

On the stock market, the benchmark Top 40 Index was up 1.1% at 49 376 points, while the broader All Share Index advanced 1.1% to 55 580 points.

Gains on the bourse were broad-based, with 33 out of the largest 40 companies ending in the black, following global peers higher after US President Donald Trump proposed a major tax overhaul.

Clothing and homeware retailer Mr Price was the biggest gainer among the blue chips, rising 2.8% to R180.04.

Other retailers also gained, with the JSE’s general retail index rising 1.5% to 6 556 points. 

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