UPDATE 1-South African stocks, rand weaker after rally

  • Reuters
  • Forex News
UPDATE 1-South African stocks, rand weaker after rally
Credit: © Reuters.

* Rand backtracks in subdued trade

* Banks weigh on bourse (Adds latest prices, analyst quotes)

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 17 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand gave up gains on Thursday as traders booked profits after the currency rallied overnight on diminishing bets of a U.S. interest rate increase and higher gold prices.

At 1500 GMT the rand ZAR= was 0.15 percent weaker at 13.1975 compared to its overnight close of 13.1775.

Minutes from the last U.S. Federal Reserve meeting showed some members favoured a halt to rate hikes until the inflation trajectory was clear. news saw most emerging market currencies strengthen, with buying of commodity currencies also supported by higher gold prices. rand rallied overnight to reach 13.1300, its firmest since Aug. 8, and was on the front foot for most of the session before stumbling lower as traders booked profits ahead of the weekend.

On the stock market, shares eased with banks under pressure as investors booked profits.

The JSE Top-40 index .JTOPI was off 0.3 percent at 49,065 and the broader All-share index .JALSH finished 0.21 percent lower at 55,415.

Barclays (LON: BARC ) Africa BGAJ.J dropped 1.20 percent to 147.89 rand, while Nedbank NEDJ.J lost 1.10 percent to 225.00 rand and Standard Bank was down 1.06 percent to 162.13 rand.

"The banks just had a very good run and are looking a little over-bought in the short-term as a result we're seeing a bit of profit taking," said BP (LON: BP ) Bernstein trader Vasili Girasis.

Shares of companies with operations abroad that make the bulk of their revenue outside South Africa, and tend to benefit from a weaker rand, also weighed on the bourse.

"The rand being stronger has hurt our resource counters and dual-listed stocks," added Girasis.

Luxury goods maker Richemont CFRJ.J was down 0.58 percent to 112.93 rand, while British American Tobacco (LON: BATS ) BTIJ.J lost 0.45 percent to 823.00 rand.

Bonds firmed, with the yield on benchmark paper due in 2026 falling 4 basis points to 8.505 percent. ZAR186=

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