Full Site
Logo new

#RandReport: Rand falls as risk appetite wanes; shares rise


JOHANNESBURG – The rand retreated on Tuesday as the global demand for risk currencies eased and technical factors weighed, but stocks firmed, buoyed by firms with substantial sales abroad.

At 1500 GMT the rand had weakened 0.6% to 13.0900 per dollar from a Monday close of 13.0175 in New York.

The rand touched its firmest level since March 30 in the previous session, rallying as far 12.8800 before pulling back as the greenback and the euro rallied following first round results of the French election.

Traders also said technical resistance around 12.9500 had seen selling out of the rand as investors covered short positions.

Last week the rand shook off political concerns following credit downgrades to junk by two ratings agencies triggered by President Jacob Zuma's sudden axing of the finance minister to gain about 2%.

"The real risk now is around a ratings downgrade spiral. If that happens it will lead to a lot of outflows ... which will result in a spike in a currency, " said fund manager at Old Mutual Macro Solutions Graham Tucker.

In early April both S&P Global and Fitch relegated South Africa's sovereign credit rating to subinvestment, while Moody's put the country on review for a downgrade. Moody's is due to visit the country in coming weeks.

Bonds were weaker, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 adding 5.5 basis points to 8.69%.

On the stock market, the benchmark Top-40 index was up 0.73% firmer at 46,525 points, while the broader All-share index gained 0.63% to 53,257.

"The market is quite mixed and volatile in places. It's driven just by general sentiment around the currency," said Afrifocus Securities portfolio manager Ferdi Heyneke.

Companies with substantial operations outside South Africa led the bourse higher, as their earnings quoted in rand stand to benefit from the weaker currency.

Foodservice group Bidcorp, which supplies pubs, restaurants and hotels in Europe, South America and Asia, was the biggest gainer among the blue-chips, advancing 3% to R280.40.

Luxury-goods maker Richemont, which sells mostly to the wealthy in the US, Europe and China, rose 2.8% to R108.35.

Gold shares weakened with safe haven assets such as bullion less in demand as the optimism settles after France's presidential election first-round win for the market's preferred candidate Macron.

Harmony Gold declined 3.45% to R28.80.

Popular Topics

Related Articles