UPDATE 1-Weak S.Africa economy seen capping rand gains, stocks down

  • Reuters
  • Forex News
UPDATE 1-Weak S.Africa economy seen capping rand gains, stocks down
Credit: © Reuters.

(Updates rand, stocks bonds)

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 3 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand held firm against the dollar on Thursday, buoyed by a court ruling that reaffirmed the judiciary's independence and eased investors' worries about political interference in running state institutions.

Stocks were slightly lower, led by gold shares that gave up the previous session's gains as fears of a Federal Reserve rate hike put pressure on bullion prices.

The benchmark Top-40 index .JTOPI slid 0.28 percent to 43,712 points while the All-Share index .JALSH was down 0.29 percent to 50,239 points.

The rand ZAR=D3 traded at 13.4200 per dollar by 1548 GMT, a 0.5 percent gain over Wednesday's close of 13.4900.

The rand had rallied to an 11-week high of 13.3150 during Wednesday trade, after a court ordered the release of a report on alleged influence peddling by close allies of President Jacob Zuma.

But with sluggish economic growth afflicting Africa's most industrialised country, traders said the currency would struggle to sustain gains despite recent positive headlines including the dropping of fraud charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

"Fundamentally nothing has changed in South Africa so I don't expect the rand to go to 12.0000/dollar or so because we're still struggling with economic growth," Treasury One currency dealer Andre Botha said.

Government bonds closed on a firmer footing, with the yield for 10-year debt ZAR186= , the benchmark for the market, dipping half a basis point 8.645 percent.

On the bourse, Gold Fields GFIJ.J fell 3.33 percent to 57.12 rand, Anglo American (LON: AAL ) plc AGLJ.J dropped 0.95 percent to 184.47 rand and Sibanye Gold SGLJ.J fell 1.23 percent to 38.61 rand.

"The gold shares had a reasonably strong day yesterday but with the gold price back down below that psychological 1300 level, that knocked the gold shares back," said Cratos Capital equities trader Greg Davies.

The losses were partly offset by shares which benefited from a firmer pound sterling GBP= after a UK court ruled that parliament must approve a government decision to trigger Britain's exit from the European Union. & Counties Properties CCOJ.J rose 5.14 percent to 48.88 rand and Brait BATJ.J gained 3.87 percent to 92.70 rand.

Trading was below average, with a total of 275 million shares changing hands compared with last year's daily average of 296 million.

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