SA stocks close in green as vaccine roll-out resumes

JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH African stocks closed in the green on Monday buoyed by broadbased gains in banks and grocery stores on the resumption of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

The JSE All Share Index rose 0.41 percent to 67 573 index points, remaining high throughout the day after the government set the date to lift the ban on vaccines.

The Sisonke implementation study was suspended earlier this month after some patients in the US developed a unique blood clot, but recent studies have shown this is a one in a million occurrence.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said that South Africa would resume using the Johnson & Johnson Covid19 vaccine today following recommendations from the Cabinet and the health products regulator.

Mkhize said that vaccination sites would be expanded to 95 sites across the country.

Phase 1 of the rollout is now scheduled to end on May 16 with an estimated 1.2 million healthcare workers vaccinated.

“When we open up on phase two, we will be activating 3 300 sites throughout the country,” Mkhize said.

“Now that means that we’re going to be spreading out vaccines to all those parts of the country so that as many people can be vaccinated in a day as possible.”

Investors have been betting on South African stocks following the rise of commodity prices and optimistic economic growth forecasts, despite rising Covid-19 cases in other emerging markets countries.

Old Mutual Wealth investment strategist Izak Odendaal said the world was experiencing a phase of rapid economic expansion.

Odendaal said this was particularly so because the vaccine-aided reopening of economies was supported by substantial fiscal and monetary support.

“If the 6 percent global growth forecast of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is realised, it will be the best year in decades.

“However, there is also strong underlying momentum that should carry over into next year.”

Meanwhile, the rand remained steady at 0.18 percent R14.27 as the dollar continued to underperform after an exceptional performance at the beginning of the year.

The rand has made solid gains in April, outperforming its emerging market peers, with gains of around 3 percent year-to-date against the greenback as higher commodity prices cushioned demand for the currency against rising US Treasury yields.

Investec chief economist Annabel Bishop said the rand continued to maintain its gains, benefiting highly from being a commodity currency.

Bishop said the US dollar weakness assisted alongside global recovery and ongoing vaccine rollouts internationally, adding that the rand was likely to hang on to its gains.

“The rand continues to benefit from the strong positive market sentiment created by improved domestic and international trade conditions in countries,” Bishop said.

“Given the rand’s strength over April, South Africa’s exports likely continued to see a strong performance, particularly those of metals.”

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