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South Africa's rand consolidates gains, gold lifts stocks
21/12/2015 00:00:00
by Reuters

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's rand firmed on Monday in thin holiday season trade, extending modest gains notched up since calm returned to markets after the fallout over the hiring and firing of finance ministers last week.

Stocks also benefited from the calmer mood, with the bourse ending nearly one percent higher. It was also boosted by the gold index, which jumped more than 5 percent as the global price of the metal continued to rise.

By 1500 GMT the rand had gained 0.4 percent to 15.0300 per dollar, within striking range of the sub 15.00 mark.

"Should there be no more market-moving shocks from government the rand should bed down over year-end, and limited movement should occur from current levels," said Annabel Bishop, chief economist at Investec.

The rand crashed to an all-time low of 16.0485 on December 11 as investors offloaded South African assets following the surprise sacking of Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister. It recovered after Pravin Gordhan took the post days later.

On the bourse, the Top 40 Index rose 0.89 percent to 44,368 points, while the All Share Index was up 0.97 percent at 49,190 points.

Gold stocks led the rally, with Sibanye Gold up 7.46 percent to 24.33 rand and Harmony Gold adding 6 percent to 14.69 rand. Gold Fields traded 5.38 percent firmer at 42.15 rand.

"(Good) sentiment seems to have returned to the market, although volume is low due to people being on holiday” said Owen Nkomo, Inkunzi Investments' founder and trader.

The property sector also showed some recovery with Growthpoint gaining 3.18 percent to 23.01 rand and Redefine added 1.5 percent to 9.50 rand.

Trade was subdued, with only 171 million shares changing hands on the stock market according to preliminary bourse data.



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