UPDATE 1-South African rand firms against dollar as stocks fall

  • Reuters
  • Forex News
UPDATE 1-South African rand firms against dollar as stocks fall

* Rand gains as dollar comes under pressure

* Equities retreat in line with global markets (Updates prices, adds quotes, background)

JOHANNESBURG, March 22 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand strengthened on Wednesday as local data supported the currency against a weakening dollar while stocks fell in line with global markets amid risk-off sentiment.

The rand ZAR=D3 had firmed 0.6 percent to 12.60 against the dollar by 1447 GMT, just off the 20-month high reached on Tuesday and in line with global markets that benefited from weakness in the greenback on doubts over U.S. President Donald Trump's ability to deliver on promised spending and tax cuts. bad out of the U.S. will have a positive impact on emerging markets and especially the rand at this stage," said TreasuryOne's chief currency trader, Wichard Cilliers.

The rand was further supported by the current account deficit narrowing to 1.7 percent of GDP -- its lowest in nearly six years -- towards the end of 2016 and a slowdown in annual inflation. fixed income, government bonds also strengthened, with the yield on the 2026 benchmark ZAR186= down 3 basis points to 8.3 percent.

On the bourse, the Top-40 index .JTOPI slipped by 1.43 percent to 44,856 points while the All-Share index .JALSH fell 1.25 percent to 52,097 points.

"There's obviously a bit of nervousness going about still. We have been weaker right from the get go this morning. The casualties have been typically resources with notable exceptions being the likes of Harmony and Anglo Gold," said Independent Securities trader Ryan Woods.

Among the biggest fallers, Kumba Iron Ore KIOJ.J fell 5 percent to 201.99 rand, BHP Billiton (LON: BLT ) BILJ.J dropped by almost 5 percent to 197.96 rand and African Rainbow Minerals ARIJ.J weakened by 4.3 percent to 94.60 rand.

The market's fall was capped by the performance of gold producers, shares of which were lifted by bullion prices that rose to a three-week peak on safe-haven buying. Gold SGLJ.J was up by nearly 5 percent at 27.99 rand, Harmony Gold HARJ.J gained 5.3 percent to 30.60 rand and Gold Fields GFIJ.J advanced by 3.4 percent to 45.17 rand.

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