Rand weaker, stocks inch up

The rand retreated on Thursday, giving up early small gains with traders cautious going into year-end and demand for riskier assets globally fading after the European Central Bank struck a tentative tone on economic growth.

Stocks inched up following Asian and US markets on signs of progress in the US-China trade dispute.

At 1500 GMT the rand was 0.23% weaker at 14.18 per dollar after closing overnight at 14.15 and spending most of the session near the 14.10 mark.

The currency rallied in the previous session after South African inflation rose only slightly and retail sales growth outpaced expectations, easing stagflation fears that have kept bulls at bay despite signs the central bank is on hiking cycle.

Easing trade tensions between China and United States had also spurred risk demand, but on Thursday it ebbed after the ECB trimmed its growth and inflation projections for next year.

Bonds were firmer, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 paper down 2 basis points at 9.14%.

In equities, the All Share index rose 0.26% to 51,730 points while the Top 40 was 0.09% stronger at 45,642 points.

Loss-making South African construction firm Group Five Ltd closed flat at R2.4 after saying it had received interest from a number of parties for various parts of its business as it explores selling some assets. 

Source: moneyweb.co.za