ANGLOPLAT:  69,200   -1282 (-1.82%)  20/05/2019 00:00

South African rand gains on slow U.S. wage growth, stocks up

(Adds latest prices, analyst comments)

JOHANNESBURG, April 5 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand firmed on Friday, ending the first week of the new quarter more than two percent firmer as slow wage growth in the United States helped maintain demand for emerging currencies.

Stocks gained on the back of a possible trade deal between the U.S. and China.

At 1530 GMT the rand was 0.32 percent firmer at 14.0675 per dollar from 14.1125 on Thursday.

The currency rallied as far as 14.0200, its best since Feb. 28, shortly after employment data from the U.S. showed that while jobs increased by 196,000 wage growth had slowed, pushing the dollar lower.

Signs of progress in trade talks between China and the U.S. has bolstered demand for emerging market currencies in general but the main boost for South African assets this week came from Moody's holding the country's sovereign rating at investment grade.

The rand's run towards 14.00 could unlock further gains, analysts said, with the cluster of stop-loss triggers around the level adding momentum to the rally before an expected spike in volatility as May 8 national elections approach.

A Reuters poll taken this week found the rand is likely to remain steady at 14.30 over the next six months.

In equities, the Johannesburg All-Share index gained by the 0.11 percent to 57,776 points, while the Top-40 index rose 0.13 percent to 51,518 points.

"For the most part, resources led the charge on the way up today. All of the gold staples were up. We've seen the market looking for quality at the moment, and the likes of Sibanye Gold were sharply up," said Independent Securities trader Ryan Woods.

The gold index strengthened 1.41 percent, while the platinum basket gained rose by 1.22 percent.

Sibanye Gold advanced 2.51 percent to 16,35 rand.

Anglo American Platinum climbed 0.9 percent to 795,06 rand.

In fixed income, the benchmark 2026 government bond firmed, with the yield down 2.5 basis points to 8.51 percent. (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana and Onke Ngcuka; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

2019-04-05 18:33:27

© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.