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